Life Cycle - Plants (KB)
Pre Lab 

  • Defining the parts of a tree and flower.
  • Exploring parts of a plant.


  • leaf
  • herbaceous
  • petals
  • roots
  • shrub
  • stem
  • trunk
  • wood
  • worksheet

Students use a worksheet to compare parts of a flower and a tree.


Woody plants are hard with a thick, wood-like covering on their stems or trunk.  The are generally long lived. Examples of woody plants are trees and shrubs. The major parts of a wood plant are the leaves, branch, trunk, and roots. The leaves are an outgrowth of the stem and can be  thin, flat, needle or scale-like, and  green in color due to the presence of chlorophyll during the growing season. Woody plants have cambium (the bark area) which is a substance that gives a tree support so it can grow tall.  Leaves provide the surface area necessary for absorption of sunlight which begins the process of photosynthesis.

A branch  is a secondary wood limb growing from the trunk of a plant. It helps transport materials from the tree trunk to the leaves. The trunk is a massive primary stem of a tree located between the roots and upper tree canopy. The trunk provides upright support to trees and transports nutrients and water from the roots to the leaves of a tree. The roots are usually not green and are found beneath the soil and are greatly branched or netted in appearance. Roots absorb water and minerals from the soil and anchor the plant to the ground and store food materials.

Herbaceous plants or small flowers are soft and green with little or no wood stems. These plants are generally short lived. Examples include grasses, garden vegetables, and small plants. Petals are usually brightly colored with distinctive colors and are used mainly to attract insects for the purpose of cross pollination (i.e., exchange of pollen from one flower to another).  Although most herbaceous plants are noted for their flowers, many trees also produce flowers.

The leaf has the same description as that for wood plants with the exception of being needle-like or scale-like in structure. The function of a leaf is the same as in wood plants.

The stem is the structure between the roots and the leaves, and may be woody or non-woody. The stem transports water and minerals from rocks to other parts of the plant and provides for the support of leaves.

The roots have the same description and function as in wood plants.

  1. Discuss with students the major plant parts and their functions.  Make sure you emphasize that leaves are used by plants to make their own food from the Sun. Leaves are usually green and found on the outside of the plant. However, leaves on some trees will fall, but new ones will grow.
    A trunk and branches are only found on trees. The woody tissue from the trunk helps support trees to grow large. Branches help the trees find a place for the leaves to grow and "feel" the sun.
    Only stems are  found on herbaceous plants. They do not have the support to make the plant grow large.
    Roots are hidden from view. They help the plant to anchor itself into the ground. The main function is to get nutrients from the soil and bring them to the leaves so the leaves can make food for the plant.
    A petal is part of a flower, which many plants possess. However, it is used mainly as a way to attract insects to help pollinate the seed.

  2. If you use the pdf version of the worksheet, go over the poem with students.  Clarify a woody plant versus a herbaceous plant.  Some students may make the connection that large plants are woody and small are herbaceous.  

    Herby the herbaceous plant 
    and Woody the Tree,
    Lived next to each other
    and were happy as can be.
    Herby wanted to talk to his friend
    But alas, Woody could not bend.

    On the worksheet have students draw a line to the correct part of the woody and herbaceous plant. 

  3. You may also use the electronic flash version where the students find the parts of the plants.

  4. These are answers to the html worksheet that you see on the next page.

    1 and 6 are leaves; 3 is the trunk; 4 and 8 are roots; 2 are branches; 5 is a petal; and 7 is a stem.

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