Portal:Plants

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Diversity of plants image version 5.png
Plants are a major group of life forms and include familiar organisms such as trees, herbs, shrubs, grasses, vines, ferns, mosses, and green algae. About 350,000 species of plants, defined as seed plants, bryophytes, ferns and fern allies, are estimated to exist currently. As of 2004, some 287,655 species had been identified, of which 258,650 are flowering and 15,000 bryophytes. Green plants, sometimes called metaphytes, obtain most of their energy from sunlight via a process called photosynthesis.

Aristotle divided all living things between plants (which generally do not move), and animals (which often are mobile to catch their food). In Linnaeus' system, these became the Kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the Plantae as originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms. However, these are still often considered plants in many contexts, both technical and popular. Indeed, an attempt to perfectly match "plant" with a single taxon is problematic, because for most people the term plant is only vaguely related to the phylogenic concepts on which modern taxonomy and systematics are based.

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Cicuta maculata
Cicuta, commonly known as water hemlock, is a small genus of four species of highly poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae. They are perennial herbaceous plants which grow up to 2.5 meters (8.2 ft) tall, having distinctive small green or white flowers arranged in an umbrella shape (umbel). Plants in this genus may also be referred to as cowbane or poison parsnip. Cicuta is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere, mainly North America and Europe, typically growing in wet meadows, along streambanks and other wet and marshy areas. These plants bear a close resemblance to other members in the family Apiaceae and may be confused with a number of other edible and poisonous plants. The common name hemlock may also be confused with poison hemlock (Conium maculatum).

Water hemlock is considered one of North America's most toxic plants being highly poisonous to humans.[1] Three members of the genus contain a toxin named cicutoxin which causes central nervous system stimulatory effects including seizures following ingestion. Medical treatment of poisoning may include the use of activated charcoal to decrease gastrointestinal absorption of the toxic principle along with supportive care including anticonvulsant drugs such as a benzodiazepine. High doses of anticonvulsant medicine are often required to halt seizure activity and further medical care including intubation and mechanical ventilation may be required.

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Young cones of a Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens)
Cscr-featured.svg Credit: JJ Harrison

Young cones of a Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens).

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  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Schep was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
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