Maureen Nalbone, age 12, of Jamestown, N Y;
What are alma plants?
In the modern world! the algae are the most simple of all the plants, But this was not always so There was a time in the dim beginnings of earth’s history when the algae were the most advanced of all the plants They were, in fact, the first plants and perhaps the very first living things in the world, Countless numbers of them drifted and floated through the ancient seas and most of them are water plants to this very day This plant family is named with the Latin word alga, which means seaweed The singular form of the word is algae the plural form is algae
The algae are very simple in structure but 3n size they range from mere midgets to the giant kelps which are sometimes 60 feet long or more Like all plants, they are composed of single cells, However, the cells of a complex land plant are fitted for special fobs A bean plant, for example, has certain cells which act as roots, and other cells which do the work of leaves or stems In an alga plant, none of the cells are specialists
Even in the giant kelp, each cell can do the duties of all the other cells It can manufacture food and even multiply itself These long, wavy seaweeds tend to stand on the ocean floor as though they were rooted to the spot However, they have no true root cells A few of the everyday cells form what we call a holdfast
These strange and simple plants come in a variety of rainbow colors and some of the very small ones are very beautiful All the algae contain green chlorophyl in every cell, though you do not always see it, Sometimes the green is masked with blue coloring material, or with brown or red Countless numbers of tiny red algae float around in the waters of the Red Sea.
This is one reason why the Red Sea has its reddish tinge Bluish and green algae often add tinges of color to the ocean.
Another type of algea adds a filmy, blue‑green coat to damp fence posts, wet walls and tree trunks Certain algae grow in the frozen polar regions right on the bare faces of the snowfields and the ice caps Some of these tiny plants era tinted with red and add a rosy glow to the distant snow The alga family is subdivided into four groups according to color In the green algae, we see only the green chlorophyl In the blue‑green algae, the green is tinged with blue In the brown algae, the green is quite hidden by brown and in red algae, the green is hidden by red coloring materialAlgae live 3n ponds and ocean waters and some team up with fungus plants to form the pretty lichens We may not notice them, but they rate among the most important plants on earth The complex plants and animals on the land all got their start in the ancient seas And from the very beginning, the algae have provided food and oxygen for all the creatures that dwell in the water.