www.mobot.org Research Home | Search | Contact | Site Map  
 
Research
W³TROPICOS
QUICK SEARCH

MO PROJECTS:
Africa
Asia/Pacific
Mesoamerica
North America
South America
Floras
General Taxonomy
Photo Essays
Training in Latin
  America

MO RESEARCH:
Wm. L. Brown Center
Bryology
GIS
Graduate Studies
Research Experiences
  for Undergraduates

Imaging Lab
Library
MBG Press
Publications
Climate Change
Catalog Fossil Plants
MO DATABASES:
W³MOST
Image Index
Rare Books
Angiosperm
  Phylogeny

Res Botanica
All Databases
INFORMATION:
The Unseen Garden
What's New?
People at MO
Visitor's Guide
Herbarium
Jobs & Fellowships
Symposium
Research Links
Site Map
Search

table of contents   
Matrix of Life

From salad to steak, everything we eat comes from plants. We build with wood, and plants supply the oils, fibers, chemicals and gums we use to create a wealth of industrial products. Three-quarters of the people on Earth rely directly on plants for medicines - in industrialized nations, a large percentage of prescription drugs are based on chemical compounds derived from plants.

And we are just one species in millions. Plants provide habitat for animals, protect watersheds and topsoil, convert greenhouse gases to oxygen, and regulate local climates, forming the foundation of the elegant, interdependent web of life.

Yet the potential has barely been tapped. Fewer than one-eighth of Earth's plants have ever been evaluated for human use, and just 103 species supply over 90 percent of all foods on the market today. Screening for anti-cancer and anti-HIV compounds in plants has just begun - we have merely scratched the surface.

Despite our dependence on plants, today we are heedlessly destroying species at a headlong pace in every country around the world. Most losses will occur in the tropics, where biological diversity is richest.

Matrix of Life: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | Next Section >>
Text and photos from "The Unseen Garden" available from MBG Press.
 
 
© 1995-2014 Missouri Botanical Garden, All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
(314) 577-5100

E-mail
Technical Support