Plants An Important Natural Resources | Learning Concepts EVS Grade 4
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Plants

Concept: Plants—An Important Natural Resource

Plants are important to us because they give us oxygen, the essential gas required by all living organisms. Apart from oxygen, we also get innumerable things from plants. Plants are renewable natural resources.

What do we get from plants?

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Fuels
  • Medicinal plants
  • Fibres
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1. Food:

  • Plants are the primary food source for all herbivorous animals.
  • During photosynthesis, they trap the maximum amount of energy from sunlight in their body.
  • As plants can make their food from the sunlight, they are called producers.
  • Plant-eating animals feed on plants and intake the energy trapped in the green plant’s body.
  • Carnivorous animals hunt herbivorous animals and feed on them; that is how they trap the energy inside their bodies.
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  • Apart from all these animals, humans and birds eat fruits, leafy vegetables, and other edible parts of the plant, like seeds and roots.
  • Plants also store food inside their different body parts—
    1. Carbohydrate is stored in potato, a tuber.
    2. We eat lentils that are plant seeds, rich in protein.
    3. Peanuts and walnuts are rich in fats.
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2. Shelter:

  • Forests are the best shelter for the animal world. Birds, insects, arboreal animals, etc., are dependent on forests as their natural habitat.
  • Many birds make their nests on trees in the forests before laying eggs.
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  • Giant pandas, flying squirrels, some frogs, gliding reptiles (like flying lizards), butterflies, and monkeys live on trees.

Even humans utilise different parts of plants to construct their houses.

  • Wood from trees is used to make furniture, doors, windows, etc.
  • Wood is also processed to make timber used to make plyboards, veneers, fibreboards, etc.
  • Straws and bamboos are used to make small huts.
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3. Fuels:

  • Fuels that are obtained from any biomass like plant parts, animal waste, and algae are termed biofuels.
  • The most common example of biofuel is wood, as we burn wood to get fire.
  • Apart from wood, some other examples of biofuels are woodchips, grasses, corn stalks, sugarcane stalks, rapeseed stalks, and switchgrass stalks.
  • Biofuels are renewable energy resources and cause less pollution than regular fossil fuels.

4. Medicinal plants:

Medicinal plants are essential for us as they provide relief from many ailments. The medicines obtained from such plants are cheap and have minimal side effects. Some of these medicinal plants are commonly found in all households.

Examples of some medicinal plants and their uses:

Plants Uses
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Peppermint
  • Peppermint tea is used to treat stomach upset.
  • Peppermint oil helps to lose weight.
  • It helps to boost appetite.
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Bael
  • Bael reduces constipation.
  • It has anti-microbial properties and controls cholesterol.
  • Bael can treat amoebic dysentery and diarrhoea.
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Brahmi
  • It can treat poor memory and mental fatigue.
  • It treats insomnia, anxiety, and stress.
  • It can treat asthma and other respiratory inflammations.
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Amla
  • Amla is rich in vitamin C and is beneficial for the heart, skin, lungs, and brain.
  • Amla juice with honey is quite effective in treating asthma, digestion, and controlling blood sugar.
  • Amla is also suitable for purifying blood.
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Ginger
  • Ginger extract is used to treat nausea and vomiting.
  • It is also effective against cough and cold.
  • Ginger helps in fighting high blood pressure and heart ailments.
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Turmeric
  • Turmeric stimulates digestion and reduces inflammation.
  • Turmeric boosts liver function and can decrease the rate of liver damage.
  • It reduces the risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
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Bhringaraj
  • It is beneficial for hair growth.
  • It has anti-inflammatory properties.
  • It is used to prevent premature greying of hair and balding.
  • Root extracts of bhringaraj are used to treat skin disorders.
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Aloe vera
  • The latex of the aloe vera plant is used to treat skin burns and rashes.
  • The gel also has healing properties and is used for curing sunburn.
  • Aloe vera juice can reduce cholesterol and keep our hearts healthy.
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Neem
  • Neem has anti-allergic properties.
  • It can reduce diabetes.
  • It can kill parasites; Neem is very effective in removing head lice.
  • Neem extracts are suitable for treating gastric issues.
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Tulsi
  • Tulsi is a natural blood purifier.
  • Chewing tulsi leaves relieves cough and cold, and flu.
  • The leaves can prevent stress and are used to treat bronchitis, asthma, and influenza.

5. Fibres:

Fibres are thread-like components that are made artificially or are obtained from plants. The two most common plant fibres are jute and cotton.

i) Jute:

  • Jute is an elongated soft, shiny fibre.
  • It is an affordable natural fibre that is cheaper than cotton.
  • Jute fibres are made of cellulose.
  • These fibres can be spun into coarse and strong threads.
  • The colour of the jute fibre may vary from white to brown.
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Uses: Jute is used for making sacks, gunny bags, curtains, thick fabrics, and ropes.

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ii) Cotton:

  • Cotton is a fluffy and soft fibre that grows inside a protective case around the cotton seeds.
  • Cotton plants are mostly found in tropical areas with warm and humid climates.
  • The fibre is spun into yarn or thread, and cotton fabrics are made from the threads.
  • Cotton is a breathable fabric that is very comfortable in hot and humid weather.
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Uses: Cotton fabric is used to make different garments like shirts, dresses, sarees, etc.

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New Words:

Renewable natural resources: The natural resources that will never get depleted and will get replenished from time to time.

Arboreal animals: The animals who spend the major part of their lifespan on trees, like monkeys, sloths, koalas, etc.

Veneers: These are processed and sliced wood that are used to make furniture like cupboards and cabinets.

Insomnia: A sleep disorder in which a person has difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep.


Did You Know?

  • The crops that farmers particularly cultivate to make money are called cash crops like tea, coffee, jute, cotton, etc. Cash crops are further divided into beverage crops, oil crops, etc.
  • Some plants are grown only for decorating a place and not for food or other products. Such plants are called ornamental plants, and examples of such plants are tulips, peace lily, water bamboo, etc.
  • We also get rubber from plants, an elastic material obtained from the latex of the rubber tree. Rubber is used to make many things like tyres, rubber bands, pencil erasers, etc.
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