Things that are made from plants include many foods, medicines, textiles and paper. Timber from trees is used to make boats, houses and furniture. Baskets, hats and mats are woven from palm leaves. Perfumed oils and natural dyes are extracted from the flowers and leaves of some trees.
Plants are important to the balance of nature and for humanity’s survival. Green plants, those having chlorophyll, produce their own food. Plants are the ultimate source of food and metabolic energy for almost all animals. It is estimated that approximately 7,000 different plant species have been used for food by man throughout human history. Plants regulate the water cycle. They aid in the distribution and purification of the Earth’s water. They also facilitate the movement of water from the soil to the atmosphere through transpiration. More than one-quarter of drugs are direct or derivative products of plants. In addition, 80 percent of people around the world rely on plants for primary health care. During photosynthesis, the production of food by plants, plants give off oxygen as a byproduct. Humans and other animals inhale this oxygen. Plants provide habitats for many other living organisms apart from humans. Fish and wildlife depend on plants for food and shelter. Plants play a significant role in regulating the environment; they store carbon and help to keep much of the carbon dioxide produced from man’s activities out of the atmosphere.