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Plant

Plants are a major group of living things including familiar organisms such as trees, flowers, herbs, ferns, and mosses.

About 350,000 species of plants, defined as seed plants, bryophytes, ferns and fern allies, have been estimated to exist.

As of 2004, some 287,655 species had been identified, of which 258,650 are flowering and 15,000 bryophytes.

Plants are mostly autotrophs, organisms that obtain energy from sunlight or organisms that make their own food.

Most plants carry out a process called photosynthesis, which occurs in the chloroplasts of plants.

It is a common misconception that most of the solid material in a plant is taken from the soil, when in fact almost all of it is actually taken from the atmosphere.

Through a process known as photosynthesis, plants use the energy in sunlight to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into simple sugars.

These sugars are then used as building blocks and form the main structural component of the plant.

Plants rely on soil primarily for water (in quantitative terms), but also obtain nitrogen, phosphorus and other crucial elemental nutrients.

For the majority of plants to grow successfully they also require oxygen in the atmosphere (for respiration in the dark) and oxygen around their roots.

Note:   The above text is excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Plant", which has been released under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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July 3, 2015

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updated 12:56 pm ET