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Plant Identification and Taxonomy

Observing the morphological structures of plants, such as leaves, fruits, branches, and seeds, helps identify plants into their taxonomy, that is, knowing the group they belong to or are related to. Viewing visible parts of the plant above the soil is a practical experience to classify plants according to their characteristics. For instance, green plants are grouped; however, different characteristics make the plants even more distinct within that group. Moreover, green plants are part of the biogeochemical cycle since they take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. This essay outlines observations made from plants using Seek app and elaborates on the human uses of plants identified.

The three identified plants are Cactus, Firestick, and Maize/Corn. The Seek app was precise in extracting the species name of each plant since I had background knowledge about the plants I chose to scan. Of the three plants, only maize is domestic since, unlike fire sticks and cactus, maize does not grow naturally in the wild without being cultivated. From observation, all the plants had green stems and leaves. Besides Maize and Firestick, cactus has thorns all over its succulent leaves. According to biology, plants with thick fleshy stems help the plants store water and, therefore, can survive long dry periods. Nonetheless, all three plants have different significant importance for humans and are used for different purposes.

To begin with, Maize (Zea mays) is extensively grown in Mexico as a staple food crop. Moreover, other countries such as America and regions of Asia, Europe, and Africa plant maize for food. Additionally, maize is used as an animal feed and industrial feedstock to generate biofuels García-(Lara & Serna-Saldivar, 2019). However, maize is not consumed raw but can be roasted, boiled, or threshed and milled to flour. On the other hand, maize crops can be chopped into pieces and fed to livestock such as cows or used in industries to generate ethanol. On the contrary, according to Fire Stick, the Euphorbia tirucalli has medicinal uses such as treating health conditions like toothache, whooping cough, asthma, and jaundice. Moreover, the milky sap from fire stick is used as a purgative and carminative, meaning it helps empty bowels and expels gasses from the stomach and intestine, respectively (Mishra & Parida, 2020).

However, the fire stick is crushed to powder or prepared in a particular way before use; the sap is harmful if it gets into contact with one’s eyes. Furthermore, from observation, a fire stick is used for fencing hedges to keep off intruders or to demarcate the perimeters of a compound. Cactus (Opuntia cochenillifera) has medicinal value, too; the juice of cactus is used as an antioxidant since they contain flavonoids and treats health conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes (Abd-Elhakim & Al-Sagheer, 2021). From observation, cactus fences, gardens, and compounds keep intruders off. The thorns on the cactus are pricky hence preventing people from trace passing.

In conclusion, it is surprising that even wild plants have essential medicinal uses for humans. Plants can, however, be classified per taxonomy depending on their characteristics. Identifying plants and grouping them is effective in tracing their origin and family. Domesticated plants, on the other hand, are cultivated and harvested for animal feed or human food. Finally, humans must care for other living organisms, plants, and animals since they are part of a biogeochemical cycle supporting the life process.

Common Name Scientific Name Where was it? Origin
Cactus Opuntia cochenillifera Along the hedges Mexico
Fire Stick Euphorbia tirucalli Open Area around the fence Subtropical Africa
Corn/Maize Zea mays Garden Mexico


García-Lara, S. and Serna-Saldivar, S.O., 2019. Corn history and culture. Corn, pp.1-18.

Mishra, A. and Parida, S., 2020. Phytochemical and antimicrobial significance of few species of Euphorbia. Bi-Ling. Int. Res. J.10, pp.82-89.

Abd-Elhakim, Y.M. and Al-Sagheer, A.A., (2021). Opuntia spp. Benefits in Chronic Diseases. Opuntia spp.: Chemistry, Bioactivity and Industrial Applications, pp.423–455.


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