Stems can be herbaceous and woody—it is one of the main structural axes of a vascular plant. It is also an important part that holds the flowers and leaves of plants. Stems are very paramount parts of plants because they lift the leaves upward, directing them toward the sun to capture sunlight they need for photosynthesis. They are also necessary for flowers—because of stems, bees can see them and are more likely to pollinate them.
Xylem is the passageway of water and minerals that are also necessary for photosynthesis and the Phloem that serve as storage of water and extra energy for plants. The stem distributes water and minerals around the body of the plant to keep the parts of plant functioning.
Transpiration is the process where water evaporates from the leaves of plants at daylight that is why stem is a significant part of plants to maintain and keep the equilibrium of processes in plants.
Types of Stems
1. Herbaceous stems
- Green and fairly bendable
- With more pith for its size
- Annual plants
- Have little notches where leaves grow
2. Woody stems
- Have scars where fruits and twigs detached
- Covered with bark and spines
- With little opening spores for transpiration
6 Uses of Stems for Humankind
1. Source of Construction Materials
This is a very important use of the stem for man. In fact, stems specifically from woods like logs and lumber are some of the export items of the Philippines to at least 20 countries around the world including USA and Japan. Below are some of the examples of woods that are exported from the Philippines to other countries.
- White lauan
- Red lauan
The waste that comes from logging and sawmilling is not thrown away but rather processed into wallboard, plywood, and veneer. Words are not only used to make posts, walls, and doors. They are also used to make sturdy furniture, barrels, crates, boxes, coffins, shingles, toys, tool handles, utility poles, fence post, picture frames, railroad ties, plywood buildings, toothpicks, matches, wagons, car parts, musical instruments, sports equipment, etc.
2. Source of Synthetic Materials/Products
Stems are also a good source of making paper, rayon, and cellophane through cellulose, which is obtained from the pulpwood. It is also one of the needed materials in making wood alcohol and acetone.
The bark yields, besides fiber many other important products. One of them is cork, which is used for the bottle stoppers, gaskets, insulators, floor covering (linoleum) and other articles—others are tannin (used in manufacturing leather), and dyes. The stem of some plants secretes substances which are valuable to man.
- Gums and resins
Among these rubbers, are lacquer and various gums and resins—gums and resins are used in varnishes. Lacquer is a natural varnish. Turpentine comes from the resin canals of pine trees. It is used as thinner in paints and varnishes. The balsam is turpentine from the Balsam fir trees. It is used to attach coverslips to microscope slides in preparing permanent mounts of specimens.
3. Source of Fuel
Mostly in the form of charcoal—one of the good examples of firewood are Bakawan (Rhizophora) or mangroves. Plants which have been buried and fossilized for thousands of years may produce natural gas or fossil fuel too.
4. Source of Medicine
It is also used to make medicine, such as quinine from the bark of the Cinchona tree, which is a cure for malaria. It is also used in many medicinal preparations and in several industrial processes. The stem of the sandalwood tree (Santalum album) has fragrant oil, which is used in perfumes and sometimes in medicines. The wood of the tree is used for jewelry boxes, treasure chests and cabinets because of its fragrance—the odor is not only pleasing to man but it also drives away insects.
5. Source of Food
Stems are also a good source of food like sugar cane, bamboo shoot, tubers like Irish potato and corms such as taro. It is also a source for spices like ginger and cinnamon.
6. Source of Fiber
Stems are a source of fiber. The bark of the ramie shrub (Boehmeria nivea) yields a strong, glossy fiber which can be made into clothing material popularly called “ramie” the stem of the common edible weed locally called saluyot yields a fiber called jute. Jute is used for making twine and sacks of rice, corn, sugar and other. It is also made into wrapping paper. The stem of flax (Linum usitatissimum) yields a long and silky fiber. It is made into linen thread and twine and used for carpets and sheets.
The bark yields, besides fiber many other important products. One of them is cork, which is used for the bottle stoppers, gaskets, insulators, floor covering (linoleum) and other articles. Others are tannin (used in manufacturing leather), dyes, and medical substances.
- Science and Technology by Lilia M. Rabago Ph. D , Crescensia C. Joaquin Ph.D, Catherine B. Lagunzad , PH. D,
- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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