Agricultural Science

Differences between plants and crops

len Alfred Ajibola -16th March, 2019 @ 4:47 PM

Topics in Agricultural Science

Clay soil explained with its types and characteristics Loamy soil explained with its characteristics Sandy soil: Characteristics of sandy soil and ways to make it fertile Soil explained with its composition Types of agricultural practices Crop rotation explained Benefits of crop rotation Differences between subsistence and commercial farming Subsistence farming explained with its characteristics What is commercial farming? Types of commercial farming Characteristics of commercial farming Importance of forest: Forest reserves in Nigeria Wildlife reserves in Nigeria and its importance Prevention and Control of Crop Pests Economic Importance of Crop Pests Classification of Insect Pests and their Economic Importance Agricultural machines and their uses Causes of soil erosion Ways to prevent soil erosion Asexual Propagation in Plants, Types and Examples

Academic Questions in Agricultural Science

Please click here to see all Questions and Answers

The ideal pH for the optimum growth of most agricultural crop is between _____.

  • A. 1 – 3.5

  • B. 4 – 5.5

  • C. 6 – 7.5

  • D. 8 – 9.5

  • E. 10 – 11.5

  • F. 12 – 13.5

People who go about their lives by raising and herding livestock such as cattle, sheep and goats are said to practice _____.

  • A. Pastoralism

  • B. Pasturalism

  • C. Herding

  • D. Herdsmen

  • E. Animalism

  • F. Anime Farming

The act of giving birth in pigs is called _____.

  • A. Calving

  • B. Piggery

  • C. Kidding

  • D. Farrowing

  • E. Calfing

  • F. Pigging

Which of the following is not a vegetable?

  • A. Cashew

  • B. Cocumber

  • C. Tomatoes

  • D. Carrot

  • E. Squash

  • F. Eggplant

All plants are crops.

  • A. True

  • B. False

In agriculture, macronutrients are essential nutrients required by plants. Which of the following is not a macronutrient?

  • A. Zinc

  • B. Sulphur

  • C. Calcium

  • D. Phosphorus

  • E. Potassium

  • F. Magnesium

Which of the following is false concerning micronutrients?

  • A. They are non-essential nutrients

  • B. They are required by plants in minute quantities

  • C. Iron is a micronutrient

  • D. Chlorine is a micronutrient

  • E. Copper is a micronutrient

  • F. Boron is a micronutrient

_____ is a term that describes the biological, chemical and cultural control tactics employed to make pest management economical, environmentally friendly and socially acceptable.

  • A. Integrated Pest Management

  • B. Integral Pest Management

  • C. International Pest Management

  • D. Inclusive Pest Management

  • E. Imbibed Pest Management

  • F. Inclusion Pest Management

Differences between plants and crops explained?

Agricultural science as a subject focuses a lot on plants and animals (not crops and animals). A plant and a crop are not exactly the same thing. Let me state categorically that 'all crops are plants but not all plants are crops'.

Often times, I hear students and teachers use both words interchangeable at classroom level. Ideally, we should be more specific with our use of both words in an academic environment. In this article, we will attempt to make them clearer.

For now, think of a crop as any plant used by humans for the purpose of food, money or something beneficial.

Please read on crops attacked by agricultural pests and their economic importance here.


What are Plants?

All plants belong to one kingdom and that's kingdom plantae. Based on this knowledge, we can comfortably say that crops, weeds, tall trees, shrubs, epiphytes, climbers, creepers are all plants but not necessarily the same kind of plants. They are generally plants because they all belong to the same kingdom (plantae).

Please read on sexual propagation in plants here.

Plants can be categorized into different types based on certain features or characteristics they possess. Consider the instances below:

1. Parasitic Plants: The parasitic plants are not necessarily crops in the sense that aren't generally used by humans for the purpose of food or money.

Parasitic plants are plants that derive some or all of their nutritional requirements from other plants. Parasitic plants possesses a form of modified roots called haustoria which they use for penetration into their host plants.

The term 'host' (as used above) describes a plant that suffers from the actions of a parasitic plant.

Examples of parasitic plants are mistletoe, bird's-nest orchid, cactus mistletoe, striga, rhinanthus and the corpse flower.

The image below shows a parasitic plant (corpse flower) and it is not a crop:

Corpse Flower - Len Academy

Apart from depending on other plants for food, parasitic plants also carry out photosynthesis.

Please read on autotrophic nutririon and photosynthesis here.


2. Carnivorous Plants: These plants are not necessarily crops.

Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients by consuming small animals, especially insects. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as insectivorous plants.

Examples of carnivorous plants are the venus flytrap, pitcher plant and sundew.

The image below shows a carnivorous plant (venus flytrap) and it is not a crop:

Venus flytrap - Len Academy

One reason why carnivorous plants feed on insects is because they often find themselves growing on soils with little nitrogen. Insects on their part are a rich sources of nitrogen.

Please read on sources, functions and defficiencies of macronutrients here.

Note: Like every other plants, carnivorous plants also carry out photosynthesis.


3. Trees and Shrubs: Although some trees are classified as crops (tree crops), not all trees and shrubs are crops.

Please read on the tropical rainforest plants here.

Mango trees and Orange trees are crops because they are grown for their fruits. However, plum tree is not a crop, neither does it bear any fruit.

Please read on differences between gymnosperms and angiosperms here.


4: Weeds: Weeds are plants growing where they are neither wanted nor desired.

Often times, we don't consider weeds as crops because they are not needed or desired. As a matter of fact, a farmer will likely cut them down.

In addition to the above instances of plants, epiphytes, climbers and creepers also fall within the plant kingdom; but they are not necessarily crops.

  • An epiphyte is a non-parasitic plant that grows on another plant. It is believed to derive its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain water, or from debris accumulating around it. Epiphytes carry out photosynthesis: (that is; they can manufacture their own food). Examples are moss and orchids.
  • Climbers and creepers are regarded as plants in need of support as they grow. In this regard, they are always attached to some form of support while growing. Examples are pea plants and ivy plants.

From the above instances, it is quite clear that the categorization of plants can be broad. We can go on and on; but the point is:

All plants are not crops

All crops are plants

You can attempt Len Academy agric science questions here.


What are Crops?

Any plant that is grown for the purpose of food, money or something beneficial is a crop. We will normally cultivate our crops and harvest them when the time is right.

Please read on the agricultural terms, definitions and meanings here.

Generally, crops serve a variety of uses for humans. They are classified as follows based on their uses:

  1. Oil Crops: They are grown for the purpose of the oil which they produce when processed. Examples of oil crops are oil palm, coconut, groundnut and melon.

  2. Vegetable Crops: They are grown for the purpose of their leaves (or fruits). Examples are pumpkin, water leaf, bitter leaf and okra.

  3. Latex Crops: They are grown for the purpose of their sticky liquid (called latex) which are useful in plastic industries. Rubber crop is an example.

  4. Drug and Medicinal Crops: Moringa and Ginseng are examples of crops grown for their medicinal values.
    Please read on the benefits of agbalumo (udara) here.

  5. Beverage Crops: These crops are grown for the purpose of making drinks. Examples are cocoa, coffee and tea crops.

  6. Fibre Crops: They are grown for the purpose of clothing. Cotton, hemp and flax crop are examples of fibre crops

  7. Fruit Crops: They are grown for the purpose of their edible fruits. Examples are orange, mango and cashew crops.

  8. Root and Tuber Crops: These crops are grown because they serve as major sources of carbohydrates. Examples are yam and potatoes.
    Please read on carbohydrates and sugars here.

  9. Legumes: Leguminous crops are very rich in protein. Examples are beans and groundnut.

  10. Spices: These crops are grown because they add flavor to food. Examples are onion, pepper and ginger.

  11. Cereals: They belong to the grass family and are rich sources of carbohydrates. Examples are rice, maize and millet.

Sometimes, we see plants growing within our environment without us directly planting them. If we find these plants to be useful, we can consider them as crops.

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Amazing facts in Agricultural Science

Cows technically have one stomach, not four. However, a cow's stomach has four compartments. These are: rumen, reticulum, omasum and abomasum

Peanuts are legumes and not nuts

Although plants neither see nor hear, they can recognize their siblings and even give them preferential treatments

Squirrels do plant more trees (through their actions) than an average human in their lifetime. They often hide their acorns and nuts underground and forget about them

Cows have got the ability to walk up stairs, but not down stairs

A group of cows is called a team, drove or herd.

People just prefer to call them herd

Notable points in Agricultural Science

Below are characteristics of gymnosperms:

  1. Their seeds have cones that protect them.

  2. Sepals and petals aren't present in their cones.

  3. Stigma and style are absent.

  4. They do not produce fruits. Only seeds are formed.

  5. Companion cells are absent.

  6. Sporophyll form the cones.

  7. Anther and filament are absent.

  8. The ovules are not present in the ovary.

  9. Gymnosperms do not possess flowers.

  10. Please read on the anatomical differences between gymnosperms and angiosperms here

The flower is the reproductive organ in plants' sexual reproduction. In order to achieve a successful sexual propagation or reproduction in plants, the floral parts of the flower are utilized.

The floral parts of a flower consists of the followings:

  1. Sepals

  2. Petals

  3. Stamen

  4. Carpel

The stamen is male portion of a plant. It consists of the anther and filament.

The carpel (or pistil) is the female portion of the plant. It consists of the stigma, style and ovary.

Please read more on plants' sexual reproduction here

An organism will be considered a pest if it does one of the followings:

  • Attack crops and eat its seeds, roots, stem, leaves and flowers. Examples are locust and grasshoppers.

  • Cause damage to stored food, fruits or other agricultural produce. Some may even urinate or deaficate on these products. Examples are rodents, cockroaches and mice.

  • Attack and kill farm animals like goats, sheep and cattle. Examples are foxes, wild cats and snakes.

  • Act as disease vectors. A vector is an organism that carries parasite and other disease causing organisms, without being affected; but when they introduce the parasites into their host, such host becomes infected with disease. Examples of vectors are rodents and mosquitoes.

    Please read more on vectors of diseases here.

Below are the classification of crops based on their uses:

  • Oil crops

  • Vegetable crops

  • Latex crops

  • Drug and Medicinal crops

  • Beverage crops

  • Fibre crops

  • Fruit crops

  • Root and Tubers

  • Legumes

  • Spices

  • Cereals

All crops are plants but not all plants are crops. Below are some instances:

  • Weeds are considered as plants, not crops.

  • Parasitic plants are not necessarily crops. Examples of parasitic plants include mistletoe, corpse flower and striga.

  • Carnivorous or insectivorous plants are not necessarily crops. Examples are sundew, venus flytrap and pitcher plant. The image below shows a carnivorous plant (venus flytrap).

Venus flytrap - Len Academy


Meanwhile, always understand that all crops are plants, and they are grown for food, money or something beneficial.

Please read on plants versus crops here