PLANTS AND PEOPLE- Biology 328- Laboratory

If you need a copy of the chart for this lab, you can print out this linked PDF and bring it with you to the lab.  It will save you a lot of time!  All you will have to do is fill in the table and add any new veggies.

You can download a powerpoint that includes the posters shown in lab at this link.

Laboratory 1: Plant Vegetative Morphology and Vegetables
 

INTRODUCTION

The goals of this laboratory exercise are to familiarize you with the vegetative morphology of flowering plants and to make you more aware of the different types of edible vegetables.

Leaves, stems, and roots comprise the vegetative body of a flowering plant. Leaves are responsible for photosynthesis. Stems comprise the central axis and branches of a plant, a system which acts to transport photosynthates from the leaves to other organs of the plant and to transport water and nutrients from the roots. The system of stems and branches also serves to get the solar panels of the plant--the leaves--to the light. Together, leaves and stems are often referred to as shoots. Roots serve as anchors, holding the plant upright, and extract water and nutrients from the soil. Many roots and stems are also modified for the storage of nutrients. These nutrients are in turn used by the plant to produce new growth.

Over the course of human history, a diverse array of plant vegetative structures have been selected for their food value. The vegetables we eat today have a long history of artificial selection and cultivation and often bear little resemblance to their wild ancestors. We rely on many plant vegetative structures as food for ourselves as well as for our livestock.

Objectives for this lab are to be able to:
□ recognize and interpret the different vegetative structures of a typical flowering plant
□ describe briefly the importance that each of these structures serves in the life of a plant
□ enumerate the vegetative differences between monocots and dicots
□ recognize numerous edible vegetables by their common and scientific names, family, and class
□ identify what vegetative plant structure is represented by the vegetables on display
□ demonstrate a basic knowledge of the geographic origins of the plants

Safety concerns:
□ Do not eat anything until instructed to do so and until you know it has been washed, if needed
□ Do not eat anything labeled “Demo” or “Do Not Eat”
□ Do not eat anything raw if it is edible only cooked
□ Do not eat anything to which you know or suspect you may be allergic
□ Handle knives carefully

ACTIVITY

Examine the various vegetable crops set out in lab.  Fill in the chart, noting common and scientific name, family, class (monocot or dicot), plant part, and area of origin.  If something listed in the chart is not present, you do not have to know it.  If there is a vegetable not listed on the chart, add it to the chart.

When it comes to sampling the props, please follow the TA’s instructions on what you can and cannot eat.  Some props may be needed whole or in part for other sections, some may be unripe or over-ripe, and some will be inedible as presented.

Please do ask questions, and if you have a favorite or traditional way to prepare and enjoy one of the more exotic crops, do share it with the class.  You might know something we don’t!

Please put all peels and plant scraps in the compost bucket.


COMMON NAME

 IMAGE

FAMILY/SCIENTIFIC NAME STRUCTURE ORIGIN
alfalfa sprouts


aloe vera leaf



asparagus


White asparagus is grown covered with soil







bamboo shoots


bean sprouts (Mung) 


beet


bok-choi

also baby bok choi




 




broccoli raab, Italian turnip broccoli


brussels sprouts 


cabbage




cactus pad


carrot

Maroon carrots were developed at A&M.  They are higher in nutrients








cassava/manioc/yuca 


celery





celery root


 
 
 
 



 
 
 
 

 



chinese cabbage


cilantro


cinnamon 


collard greens



daikon


Belgian endive (pictured)  or

endive



fennel


garlic



Elephant garlic is much larger and is
actually the same species as leek.









ginger


gobo root, Japanese burdock


horseradish



jicama 


kale

various varieties, including colored



kohlrabi 


leek


("elephant garlic" is the same species)




lemon grass


lettuce
Iceberg

Bibb/Boston/Butterhead Lettuce


Curled or Leaf Lettuce


Frizze Lettuce


Romaine or Cos Lettuce
 

All the same species, but these belong to different varieties


 
 
 

 


 
 
 




lotus "root"
 
malanga, yawtia, tannia
 
maple syrup


mushroom

 
mustard greens


ong choy, kangkung, water spinach, swamp cabbage
Federal Noxious weed!




onion
red


yellow


green-tailed, scallion


pearl or boiling onion




palm heart


parsley
curled parsley

Italian (flat-leaved) parsley (on right)
Same species, different varieties

parsnip


potato
red


Russet


finger potatoes




radicchio


radish


rhubarb


rutabaga include variety


salsify, oyster plant


shallot


spinach


sugar cane 


sweet potato, boniato

                            boniato



swiss chard  include variety


taro root


turnip include subspecies

water chestnut


water cress


yam, name'




 

STUDY QUESTIONS

  1. What are the three main vegetative organs used for dietary purposes?

  2.  
  3. Sketch a leaf and label the parts.

  4.  
  5. Why are leaves so important to a plant? What purposes do they serve? Why are the leaves of a plant so important to life on planet Earth?

  6.  
  7. What are three ways that leaves can be arranged on a stem?

  8.  
  9. Draw a compound leaf and a simple leaf.

  10.  
  11. How can you tell the difference between monocots and dicots using leaf characteristics?

  12.  
  13. What purposes do stems serve in overall plant function?

  14.  
  15. Name one similarity and one difference between a carrot and a white potato. Think about function and vegetative structure.

  16.  
  17. Asparagus is the Cadillac of all vegetables. What part of the asparagus plant do we actually eat?

  18.  
  19. White potatoes are modified stems which grow underground. How can one tell that these vegetables are actually stems and not roots? What purpose does this stem modification serve in overall plant function?

  20.  
  21. What is an onion? Name the parts of an onion. What purpose does an onion serve in the overall function of the onion plant?

  22.  
  23. You should know by now that each of the vegetables we eat has a wild ancestor. Why might the wild ancestors of the common potato, sweet potato, and carrot have smaller underground organs than the cultivars which are grown by human beings?

  24.  
  25. What are two main types of root systems in flowering plants? How do monocot roots and dicot roots typically differ?

  26.  
  27. What is a brussels sprout?

  28.  
  29. Give the common name of four vegetables in the family Brassicaceae.

  30.  
  31. What are two functions of roots?

  32.  
  33. Carrots, radishes, and turnips are quite similar in structure and function. What do we call these structures and what is their main function?

  34.  
  35. What part of a mushroom do we eat? Is a mushroom a plant?



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    Last updated 6/18/2010
     Nomenclature conforms with World Economic Plants, a Standard Reference  by John H. Wiersema and Blanca León. 1999, CRC Publishing.