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Kingdom Plantae: Facts, Characteristics & Examples

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  • 0:02 Kingdom Plantae
  • 0:37 Six Kingdoms
  • 1:23 Characteristics
  • 2:42 Facts & Examples
  • 4:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Chances are, you can thank a plant for your clothes, your food, and even your house. This lesson will explore the kingdom plantae including characteristics plants share as well as some facts and examples of organisms within this kingdom.

Definition of Kingdom Plantae

There are creatures living among us that use air and water to make sugar! Sounds magical, doesn't it? You probably take them for granted, but you shouldn't. They make the air you breathe, the food you eat, the fiber for your clothes, dyes for fabrics, the building materials for your house and the legs for your table. I could keep going but you get the idea. Kingdom plantae is one of six kingdoms of organisms, and it includes every plant you could imagine from the moss growing on the forest floor to the mighty, towering fir trees.

The Six Kingdoms

Taxonomists, or scientists who classify organisms, continually modify and adjust the classification system as new species are discovered. Here is a list of the five other kingdoms with one example organism, just so you can get an idea how plants compare.

  • Animalia: this is you and me and all other animals
  • Protista: this is the paramecium you might find in pond water
  • Fungi: the mushrooms on your pizza
  • Eubacteria: these are the bacteria growing on your skin
  • Archaebacteria: these are the bacteria living in extreme conditions, like the salty Great Salt Lake in Utah

Characteristics of the Kingdom Plantae

What makes plants unique from the other kingdoms, and how can moss and a fir tree be in the same kingdom? Kingdoms are grouped based on shared characteristics, and plants have quite a few.

Plants are autotrophs, meaning they can make their own food. Animals, in contrast, are heterotrophs, so they must consume other organisms for food. Plants make their own food through a process called photosynthesis where the plant takes carbon dioxide gas, water and light and transforms these three ingredients into sugar and oxygen.

The process of photosynthesis
photosynthesis

Remember, carbon dioxide from the air and water from the roots and energy from the sun combine to make oxygen and sugar.

Most plants are multicellular, meaning they are made up of more than one cell. Simple organisms, like bacteria, are unicellular meaning their whole body consists of just one cell. Plants are eukaryotes, which means their cells are more complex than those of prokaryotes (bacteria). Plants have cell walls, which is an additional structure that makes the cells more rigid. Plants are sessile, which means they can't move around.

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