Plant Compounds

 Plant Compounds

The thousands of organic compounds synthesized by plants can be grouped into several classes. The portion of the molecule or functional group that interacts with biological compounds defines these classes.


The simplest organic compounds are hydrocarbons that consist solely of hydrogen and carbons. More complex compounds that are derived from hydrocarbons are called alcohols because they contain a hydroxyl or OH group attached to a terminal carbon atom.

Sugars (saccharides) are essentially alcohols linked together to form chains or polysaccharides.


Organic Acids

Oxygen that is double bonded to a carbon atom constitutes a

carbonyl group (C=O). Organic acids have a terminal carbon atom that shares electrons with both a carbonyl group and a hydroxyl group.

This entire unit COOH is referred to as a carboxyl group.

Long chain carbon strings with a terminal carboxyl group are known as fatty acids.

Fatty acids in nature provide protection and insulation to plant’s cells and are essential to maintain body functions in humans.


Amino Acids

Organic compounds that have nitrogen bound to carbon are classified as amines. Compounds that have both an amino group and a carboxyl group are termed amino acids.

The acid group of one amino acid can bind with the amino group of another amino acid to form peptide bonds, permitting long strings or polypeptide chains (proteins).

Flowering Plants

There are many kinds of plants, ranging from tiny mosses to giant sequoias and eucalyptus trees. All plants share common structures like roots, stems and leaves.  Those  that produce flowers are known as angiosperms.


Angiosperms produce colorful flowers and fleshy fruit.

Gymnosperms on the other hand lack flowers but produce hard seeds and cones.


Flowering plants produce many of Nature’s botanical agents.  These botanical factories are reservoirs of unique compounds.

Angiosperms depend on its fruit and flowers to reproduce. Its flowers attract insects who transport pollen from one flower to another. As such they act as the reproductive organ of plants.


Angiosperms produce fruit as well as flowers.

Fruits are good sources of macronutrients while flowers are valuable for their phytochemicals.

Each angiosperm produces a flower made up of an assortment of chemical compounds and  colorful structures

This library of compounds produces a unique combination of  form, color and odor .  These to attract animals.They become the vehicles to transport pollen.


Flowering plants produce fruit.

All fruit serves the same purpose of providing both a method for seed dissemination and a mechanism by which the seeds are protected. Fruits are defined as the ripened or matured ovary of a flower. Fleshy and edible fruits are designed to insure that animals eat them. This helps disperse seeds.

Germination depends on the quality of the seed and the environment it is forced to grow in.