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Herbs, Shrubs and Trees

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Herbs, Shrubs and Trees: An Overview

Plants are eukaryotes and also need energy for their growth. Through the process of photosynthesis, they prepare their food. Based on their size and structure, some plants are tall and powerful, while others are small. Plants are classified into 3 types: herbs, shrubs and trees. A herb is a non-woody plant that has an inexperienced and smooth stem with few branches on it. Shrub plants are taller than herbs and have stems branching out at their base. A tree is a woody plant that has many branches on a stem.

Types of Plants

Based on the Morphological Characteristics:

There are 3 types of plants:

1. Herbs: These plants have soft, green and spoilable stems.

Characteristics of Herbs:

  • Herbs are small plants with soft stems.

  • Their stems are delicate and tender.

  • These plants are short.

  • Their lifespan is very short, which means they can survive for 1 or 2 seasons only.

Examples of Herbs: Mint, grass, rice, maize etc.

Herbs plant - Cilantro

Herbs Plant - Cilantro

2. Shrubs: Shrubs plants have woody stems with equal-sized branches arising from the stem just above the soil.

Characteristics of Shrubs:

  • They are smaller than trees.

  • These plants are around 3 metres tall.

  • They grow bushy because their branches are grown immediately above the soil.

  • These plants can grow in all types of soil.

  • Shrubs plants are seasonal plants and also grow well in a sunny environment.

Examples of Shrubs: Jasmine, tulsi, pomegranate, china rose etc.

Shrubs Plant


3. Trees: They are big and tall plants that have a hard woody stem which is called a trunk. Trees have leaves, woody branches and twigs above the ground. The tree names are mango tree, coconut tree, palm tree, banyan tree etc. Palm and coconut trees do not have branches but still, they come under the trees category.

Characteristics of Trees:

  • They have a strong and single woody stem called a trunk.

  • Trees live for longer years.

  • They can grow tall.

Examples of Trees: Neem, banyan, palm etc.

Neem Tree

Neem Tree

Based on their Growth Habits:

Climbers and creepers are unique plants that are classified on their growth habits. Some plants take support to grow and some crawl on the ground.

1. Climber Plants

These plants have thin, weak and long stems that grow with the help of walls, sticks, trees etc.

Characteristics of climbers:

  • They have flexible stems with many soft tissues.

  • These soft tissues help them to grow faster.

  • They have tendrils to climb the walls, sticks etc.

  • Xylem vessels are long and wide in them.

  • Climbers cannot stand upright. Hence, they need support.

Climber’s Example: Grapevine, money plant, cucumber etc.



2. Creeper Plants

They grow horizontally along with the ground because they cannot stand upright.

Characteristics of Creeper:

  • They have soft stems which cannot allow them to stand upright.

  • They creep along with the soil or ground.

  • They live for 1 year or longer.

Creeper’s Example: Strawberry, watermelon, pumpkin etc.



Interesting Facts

  • Egyptians studied herbs and then used them in religious and medicinal functions as far back as 3500 B.C.

  • Saffron is a very expensive spice in the world which is produced in Kashmir in the highest amount.

  • Plants can guide us. In northern temperate climates, moss grows on the trunk of the tree. So, we can use them to guide our navigation.

Key Features

  • Plants are multicellular eukaryotes.

  • They have 6 basic parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds.

  • They have reproductive organs to reproduce asexually.

  • Life would not be possible without plants.

  • Plants prepare their food on their own through the photosynthesis process.

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FAQs on Herbs, Shrubs and Trees

1. Why do some plants have sharp thorns or spines?

Plants have sharp thorns or spines to defend against animals that feed on them.

2. Which of the following is NOT a type of plant?

A. Mushroom

B. Giant water lily

C. Moss

Option A is correct. 

Mushrooms because they cannot prepare their food. They cannot do the photosynthesis process.

3. How can you find the types of roots of different plants by looking at their roots?

If the leaf has parallel venation, the roots of the plant will be fibrous and if the leaf has reticulate venation, then the root is a tap root.