Plants and Human Affairs:
Questions to think about.
1. Contrast the origin and development of agriculture in the old
and new worlds. How do you account for the differences?
2. What roles do hybridization, introgression and polyploidy play
in the evolution of wheat?
3. Compare the ways in which natural selection has operated in
plant evolution with the ways in which people have selected
plants during their appearance on earth.
4. Compare the early history of the development of wheat and corn
with respect to: a) evidence, b) locations, c) structure of
the plant part used.
5. Describe a typical a) seedling, b) mature plant, and c) fruit
of the Gramineae. In what respects is corn not typical?
6. Select a root or tuber crop and a grain crop and compare them
with reference to the following: a) climate, b) soil, c)
yield, d) nutritional value.
7. Which of the following are stems and explain how you know this
to be the case: potato, cassava, onion, taro.
8. What is endosperm and how is it formed? Describe the changes
that take place in wheat endosperm during germination.
9. Compare and contrast: a) beer and wine, b) sap wood and heart
wood, c) jute and cotton, d) seed and fruit, e) multiple and
10. In what ways are forest ecosystems of value other than in the
production of wood and wood products?
11. Describe how the nitrogen cycle works and what might be the
effects of agriculture and forestry upon it?
12. Define and alkaloid. Chose two cases and describe: a) the
compound itself, b) its distribution within the plant, c) its
probable origin, d) its role in history.
13. What characteristics of soil important to plant growth are
controlled by good structure? Explain how structure may be
maintained or destroyed by cultivation proctices.
14. What are fertilizers made of? Why?
15. Contrast lateritic and podzolic soils with regard to relative
16. Distinguish chemically between essential oils, resins, and
rubber. Select an example of each and give: a) a name of the
plant which produced it, b) where the plant grows, c) the
plant part from which the product is commercially obtained.
17. Discuss how the search for such luxuries as spices has
affected history. What other plant products have played
important historical roles?
18. Compare and contrast: a) black tea and green tea, b) black
pepper, white pepper and paprika, c) herb and spice plant.
19. What is a polyunsaturaterd fat? What is the distinction
between an essential oil and an essential lipid?
20. Discuss three problems that illustrate how land usage
problems are essentially plant usage problems.
21. Consider some important plant diseases and discuss ways in
which modern agriculturists are attempting to control them.
22. What are some commercial applications of our knowledge about
plant growth regulators.
23. What is(was?) the "Green Revolution." Is(was?) it successful?
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