Welcome to You Ask Andy

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 material 

Algae 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. 


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