UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
Why do plant cells need to live?
Question Date: 2015-09-08
Answer 1:

Although plants don’t seem like they do anything, they are just as alive as us. Even though plants don’t move like animals and other living things, they still have a lot of different functions they need to accomplish to survive. They appear simple from the outside, but they are actually very complex.

The way the universe works, things that appear organized like a plant tend to become more disorganized with time. To grow and reproduce, a plant needs energy so it needs to be alive to use energy over and over again. If plant cells weren’t alive, they would be like rocks which can’t use energy to grow and make similar copies of themselves.

Rocks also can’t provide energy to other living things if they are eaten and therefore aren’t part of the food chain. Interestingly, tree bark is actually made of dead plant cells to shield the inner cells from the dangers of the outside world. But the cells inside the bark are very much alive. The same thing happens with humans in that skin is made mostly of dead cells.

Answer 2:

All living things, including plants and animals are made of cells. Some things are only one cell big. You need a microscope to see them. Other things are made of so many cells that you could never count them all. Plants are made of many different types of cells that do different jobs. New cells come from one cell dividing into 2 new cells.

Things that are made of many cells lose cells all the time. Plants can lose parts of themselves, but grow new ones. A bug or cow might eat a leaf, but a new leaf can grow. Do trees lose their leaves in fall where you live? That’s a big loss of cells. The cells left in the tree can divide to make new leaves.

Each type of plant has things that are good or bad for it, depending on where it comes from. Plants need light, water, and nutrients from the air and soil. Too much water for a desert plant may be not enough water for a rainforest plant. A temperature that is too cold for a rainforest plant may be just right for a plant from Alaska. Plants can also be hurt by chemicals or by being eaten. If a lot of the cells die, the plant may not be able to make new cells. Then the whole plant dies.

Do you think all of the cells in a plant look the same? Why do you think that? You may want to study plant biology or cell biology as you get older.

Thanks for asking,

Answer 3:

Cell theory says that cells are the most basic units of life. All living things – plants, animals, bacteria, insects, and more – need cells to live because cells carry out the functions necessary for that organism. Plants are multicellular, meaning they are made of many cells. If plant cells survive, the plant survives. In order to live and provide proper function to the plant, plant cells need oxygen, energy from the sun, minerals/nutrients, and water.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use