Agricultural Science

Differences between a Plant and a Crop

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

Topics in Agricultural Science

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Academic Questions in Agricultural Science

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

All plants are crops.

TRUE or FALSE

Plants VS Crops?

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 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, I believe we should be more specific about our use of both words as this article 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 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 Methods of Plant Propagation here.

Are all plants crops?

The answer is NO

Plants can be categorizes into different forms based on certain features or characteristics. Consider the instances below:

1. Parasitic Plants: The parasitic plants are not necessarily crops in the sense that some of them aren't 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.

Usually, they have a form of modified roots called haustoria, which they use for penetration into their host plants.

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

Corpse Flower - Len Academy

Corpse Flower - Image Credit: Britannica

Note: The term host is used to describe a plant that suffers from the actions of a parasitic plant.

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

Venus flytrap - Len Academy

Venus Flytrap - Image Credit: Careerline Courses

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 source 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 we have some trees that are crops (tree crops), not all trees and shrubs are crops.

Please read on characteristics of trees in the Tropical Rainforest and Savanna.

Mango trees and Orange trees are crops because they are grown for their fruit; but the 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.


You can see from the above instances that the categorization of plants can be quite 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 Examination Questions for JSS1, First Term here.

 

What are Crops?

Any plant that is grown for the purpose of food, money or something beneficial is a crop.

Please read on the various Agricultural Terms, Definitions and Meanings here.

We will normally cultivate our crops and harvest them when the time is right.

Generally, crops serve a variety of uses for humans.

Classification of Crops

Below is the classification of crops 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 the African Star Apple (called Agbalumo or Udara in Nigeria).

  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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len

Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.



Amazing facts in Agricultural Science

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

There are about 630 different kinds of carnivorous plants.

Carnivorous plants are plants that derive some or most of their nutrients by consuming small animals, especially insects.

Carnivorous plants are also referred to as insectivorous plants.

Some example of carnivorous plants include sundew and Venus flytrap.

Please read more on Carnivorous Plants here

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