Sunday, 5 January 2014

Classifications of Plants

Agriculture has similarities with Biology, which is the study of living things, and it is divided into kingdoms. These kingdoms are: plant and animal kingdoms.
Biology needs the idea of agriculture, which is the growing of plants and rearing of animals to strike a balance. But in this write-up, emphasis is centred on the classifications of plants. The classifications of plants are base on the number of years it takes plants before they complete their life cycles and one for agricultural purposes.  

Plants which are made possible by nature are classified into two based on their usefulness and appropriateness. The two main classifications of plants centre on:
·        Annuals, biennials and perennials; and
·        Classification for agricultural purposes.

Annuals, Biennials and Perennials
Plants that fall within this group are mainly those that bear flowers. They are also known as the flowering plants. They are mainly crop plants and this helps farmers on knowing the expected time to harvest their crops. This categorization also helps farmers on how to make use of their lands for maximum utility.

Annual plants: In a lay man's understanding, annual simply mean one year. Not thinking too much, annual plants are those plants that complete their life cycle within one year. These plants when completed their life cycles within a year and die within that same year. It can take two, three, six or even twelve months for the completion to take place. How many annual plants do you know? What are examples of annual plants? Examples of annual plants are rice, wheat, maize, beans, flax, jute, sunflower, pepper, green vegetables, vegetable pumpkin, tomatoes, and so on.

Biennial plants: These are plants that complete their life cycles within two years. After the completion, they also die within the years. Biennials grow and store food within the first growing season, and make use of the remaining season to bear flowers, seeds and fruits before they die. Biennials have their examples as cabbage, turnip and radish.

Perennials: According to Concise Oxford English dictionary, one of the definitions of the word ‘Perennial’ has it as lasting for a long time. Perennials in agricultural perspective are plants that last for a long time or more than two years before they die. These plants have no less than two years for the completion of their life cycle. Examples of woody perennial plants are mango, rubber, orange, cocoa, oil palm, coconut, guava, cashew, pears and many others. Herbaceous perennials include ginger and onion.

Agricultural Classification of Plants
The agricultural classification is based on the kind of plant used during cultivation. This classification is divided into cereals, legumes, root crops, vegetables, fruits, beverages and drugs, spices, oils, forage crops, latex and fibres.
Cereals are energy giving foods and they belong to grass family. These plants are grown from their grains and they are one of the most popular kinds of food in the world. They have their examples as rice, maize, millet, guinea corn and wheat.

Legumes are rich in protein and they supply protein-rich fodder to livestock. They replenish soil nitrogen due to the fact that the nodules on their roots contain nitrogen-fixing bacteria. They are very much needed in crop rotation processes. Animals that feed on legumes do not lack protein in their body as legumes are nothing but “protein industry”. Examples of legumes are beans, oil bean, soya bean, cowpea, groundnut and lima bean. Also note that leguminous plants contain proportion of oil in them.

Root plants are found mainly in tropical area of the world and they form their food from already developed roots. They are mainly starchy foods and are energy giving foods. Cassava, potato and yam are examples of root crops.

Vegetable plants are rich in vitamins which fight diseases in the body of animals. They are also rich in minerals such as calcium. Okra, spinach, onion, pepper, tomato and garden egg belong to this class.

Fruits supply dietary vitamins to body and are rich in vitamin A and C. They are rich in minerals and sugars. Medical doctors advice patients to eat more of fruits because fruits are rich in vitamin. This is to fight the disease causing organisms in the human body. Orange, pawpaw, mango, native pear, pineapple, banana, plantain, guava and apple are examples of fruits.

Beverages and drug plants are used in making of food drinks and medicine. Beverage crops are cocoa and coffee, while drug plants include quinine and tobacco. Cocoa and coffee are of very good help to many beverage industries as they are use in manufacturing of drinks. Tobacco plants are used in production of stimulants while quinine is for medicinal products.

I will like to write on spices and oils on this paragraph. Spices are used in foods to add flavour. Ginger, curry, cloves, cinnamon and pepper are examples of spices. Oils are plants which are rich in oil production. Oil palm, groundnut, coconut and sunflower are typical examples of oil plants.

Forage, Latex and fibres are listed under agricultural class. Forage plants are grasses and legumes which are grown to feed animals. They are cultivated for feeding the farmers livestock. Latex plants are rubber bearing plants. They are called rubber plants. The latex produced when any cut is made on their trunk is gummy and whitish in colour. Fibre crops are used in making ropes and cloth because they are rich in fibre. Jute, hemp and cotton are examples of fibre crops.

Classification is the process of grouping things into parts. Classification of plants had been written in this piece. The two broad classifications of plants are: agricultural, and annual, biennial and perennial classifications. Agricultural classification was further developed into other groups.

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