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Why Are Plants Called Producers? An In-Depth Analysis

Why are plants important? Better yet, why are plants called producers?

Well, this may be news to some, but without plants, practically all life on earth would cease to exist. Think about this next time you see someone pulling up their thistles and chopping down trees. But this doesn’t answer “why are plants called producers?”

Why are plants called producers?

Any organism capable of preparing its own food from simple inorganic substances like water and carbon dioxide using natural energy is referred to as producers. As such, since plants can do just that, they also qualify as producers.

Plant roots can take up minerals and water from the ground as their leaves absorb CO2 from the air. Plants then use energy from sunlight to convert these ingredients into the food it requires through a process known as photosynthesis.

The food plants produce is in the form of starch and glucose. So far, plants are the only living things in the universe that have been proven to have their own inbuilt source of food energy.

Do Killer Plants Also Qualify as Producers?

There are several plants that qualify as both consumers and producers. A great example is the Venus flytrap and its counterparts, who have evolved a mechanism to trap small animals and insects then gradually absorb their juices in an effort to gather special mineral supplements and any nutrients they require to keep surviving.

Note though, that Venus’ fly traps and their counterparts are also producers, as they gather some of their gases and nutrients from the soils they are rooted in.

The only reason these plants are forced to capture small preys is that they are grown in areas with poor quality of soil and have to do this to supply any missing nutritional needs.

What More Do Plants Produce?

In addition to their ability to process water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to create complex biological compounds such as glucose, plants also produce oxygen, a gas that all animals on earth require to breathe and survive.

For that reason, plants are found at the base of all ecosystems worldwide and create the foundation of the most complex life in the world.

Plants are also referred to as “primary producers” because they are the only living thing in food chains that produce the energy all animals eventually process.

Equally, primary consumers, also called herbivores, act as the second link in the food chain, and carnivores qualify as secondary consumers as they subsist solely on herbivores.

The term tertiary consumers refers to predators who can feast on carnivores as well as herbivores. A great example of tertiary consumers is humans.

Why Are Plants Called Producers 2
The Soil Food Web – via Wikimedia

Additional Things Plants Produce

Clothing and Habitat

Plants and trees make up the backbone of the world’s diverse landscape that creates hundreds of thousands of unique habitats necessary for life to thrive.

Trees stand tall in their habitats, acting as the world’s dynamic lungs, whereas flowers dance in their fields as grass varieties sway in the wind on a hill.

What’s more? Birds pick up barks, leaves, and straws along with feathers and other items to create comfy nests they can use to lay their eggs. Our forefathers also used thatched roofs made of palm fronds and grasses or wood to secure their habitats.

Not to mention, industrial hemp remains one of the first trees to get spun into usable fiber many centuries ago. Plants and their ability to produce keep the cycle of life moving.

Medicine

Lots of prescription drugs have been made from synthesized plant compounds or plant extracts. For example, mint leaves have mentha, which is used in nasal medicine, muscle creams, and lozenges, whereas aspirin comes from the willow’s bark.

What’s more? According to WHO (the World Health Organization), the Malaria drug’s ingredient quinine is extracted from the bark of Cinchona trees, and approximately 80 percent of the eath’s population uses holistic plant-based drugs as their primary form of healthcare,

Clean Water

Without water, life ceases to exist. Lucky for us, plants help regulate the earth’s water cycle by purifying and redistributing the world’s water supply. Thanks to transpiration, plants can suck up water from the ground using their roots and shoot it out into the atmosphere.

This moisture subsequently accumulates and forms clouds that eventually cause rains that revitalize life on earth.

Better Climate

Carbon Dioxide is one of the leading greenhouses gases contributing immensely to climate change. While our (humans) breathing system adds more carbon dioxide to the ecosystem, plants are one of the few living things reversing the situation.

Through the process of photosynthesis, plants take in the CO2 gas, and release oxygen. During the process, they use the CO2 as a building block for new tissues like their roots, leaves, branches, and trunk.

What does this mean? When we cut down trees or burn entire forests, the vast carbon amounts these plants have stored in the soil and their tissues get released back into the atmosphere. That’s why it’s incredibly crucial to protect our habitats.

Soil Quality

Trees and plants are incredibly essential for maintaining excellent soil conditions we can use to grow our foods. Together with the microorganisms living around them, their roots hold together the soil, minimizing its likelihood of getting eroded.

What’s more? When tree and plant leaves fall from these plants and trees that die, they decompose and fertilize the soil, which, in turn, enables other plants to thrive and grow.

For humans, the importance of high-quality soil is hard to overstate because, without it, we would not be able to produce the crops we need to feed ourselves as well as the animals we eat and rely on.


Final Thoughts

Humans tend to forget the importance of plants and trees and take them for granted. What’s worse, plants are called producers, implying they do not need us to make their own food, and all they need is sunlight, water, and CO2.

Our life and long-term survival, on the other hand, are highly dependent on plants.