Plants' abilities

Tony Travis ajt at
Wed Jul 8 06:54:24 EST 1992

In article <Tue.7Jul92.2048.bionet-news at> you write:
: Tony, how do you contend with saprophytes and parasites that lack chlorophyll,
: yet have cellulose cell walls, store their food as starch, possess xylem
: and phloem, and produce flowers and fruits?

.... they used to be plants, like whales used to be animals ;-)

What I mean is some plants have lost the ability to phosynthesise as
they evolved just like some animals have lost the ability to survive on

The characteristics you cite about plants that lack chlorophyll are
secondary characteristics of plants.  What Una asked was what are the
fundamental characteristics of a plant.

One of the characteristics that distinguishes plants from other
organisms is their ability to capture and store the energy of sunlight
as carbohydrate.  Plants that have lost the ability to do this as they
evolved are, of course, taxonomically still plants.


Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  Tony Travis
Rowett Research Institute,            |  JANET: <ajt at>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  other: <ajt at>
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |  phone: 0224-712751

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