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Care of a kolanchoe plant by a nurse trained in care of plant health and a human patient is an excellent example of the relationship between human health and plant health. Kolanchoes are an ornamental vine widely used in houseplants, but also in the landscape as groundcover and as an attractive groundcover around the edges of a garden (fig. 1). Plants of this genus are easy to grow, with minimal maintenance, yet they are long-lived and relatively vigorous.
Like all plants, kolanchoes require attention to keep them healthy, and their health is strongly related to human health. The most common kolanchoe species, and the one most commonly used in the home, is the common kolanchoe (Kolanchoe scabrella). A kolanchoe has an upright growth habit, and can be either herbaceous (growing in soil) or woody (growing in a potting medium, such as gravel, rocks, or pumice).
Care of plants is not always a simple process, plant health is dependent on many factors, including environmental conditions and the health of the plant’s individual cells. Humans are no different, they’re composed of trillions of cells, which are each in constant contact with other cells and various chemicals and materials. These interactions between cells and between cells and their environment make it difficult to accurately determine what is or is not healthy for each human cell.
Yet human health is dependent on the health of the cells that make up the body, and if human health were to become compromised, the end result would be the same as if the human cell populations in which they were located were compromised. The interaction between humans and their environment is very complex, but for plants, this same process is even more complex, and more important. Every component of the kolanchoe plant is affected by human interactions. Some of these effects are positive, and some are negative.
Human health begins in a plant’s environment, and that environment is the one most plants can’t leave. We can’t just close up our windows and go outside, but the plant does. Plants have an internal sense of what the atmosphere, temperature, humidity and air quality are, and can monitor these conditions internally. When any of these conditions are changed, a plant will do what it can to compensate for this change. Some plants may actually react more slowly than others, but they will all react in some way. And many of the plants that are important to humans are among the most sensitive and responsive to their environments.
Humans are one of those environmental changes for plants. The environment in which plants live is dependent on the presence of humans, who produce many chemicals, gases and airborne materials. As such, when human activities (or the absence of certain activities) are present in a plant’s environment, it is these chemicals, gases and materials that affect the plant’s own health.
When plants are taken directly from the wild and cultivated, there is no exposure to the human-provided food, chemicals, gases or materials that make up the environment that they now live in. However, some species are domesticated, and as a result of domestication, there is exposure to human-provided foods, chemicals, gases and materials in their diets.
The domesticated plants can be cultivated, and many plants are cultivated in some fashion. One example of this is the kolanchoe, or cola, that we will be examining. Colas are plants that are cultivated for their edible leaves, which are used to produce various kinds of drinks.
Other plants can be used to make other kinds of plants’ beverages. Coffee beans, for example, are picked from coffee plants and fermented into coffee. These plants are then used to produce coffee. Other plants are consumed directly as food.
What’s unique about domesticated species is that they have been chosen by people for consumption. These plants have specific characteristics that make them attractive for humans, allowing them to have properties that benefit people in their capacity as humans. The properties that are attractive to people can be either desirable properties, such as certain colours, sizes, flavors and aromas, or undesirable properties, such as medicinal properties.
Some of the properties that these plants have which are attractive to humans include:
Colour – A yellow colour is seen in kola nuts, coffee beans and cocoa beans. In addition to these examples, certain fruits and leaves have bright yellow or orange hues.It is the use of these colours for ornamentation that was a source of food and pleasure for the ancient people, whose cultures formed the foundation for many of today’s modern societies.
Flavor – For example, coffee beans are a pleasant treat to consume, with a sweet and delicious flavor. This can be said of many types of food plants that are consumed, including cocoa beans, cocoa beans, cinnamon and even certain types of herbs. People have also developed tastes for other flavors, such as the flavours of vanilla, pepper, kola nuts and even lemon.
Sizes – Some plant species are very small, making it easy for humans to harvest them, with many of these being available for sale to people to consume as snacks. In addition to this, there are examples of plants that are very large, which require a lot of time and energy to harvest and transport. For example, the coffee plant is very small in size. Humans have used the coffee plant to make a beverage from the tiny seeds of this plant, which has then been eaten and absorbed by people.
Scent – Certain fruits have smells. For example, the grapevine has a sweet smell.
Aromas – Some species can have aromas. In this case, it is a quality of the fragrance that has a positive effect, which stimulates the senses, like fragrant scented herbs.
Climbing plants – These can attach themselves to walls or other surfaces using their tendrils. The climbing vines that reach for the sky are commonly found on trees. Most people would likely identify a climbing vine as a plant.
Flowering plants – Flowering plants such as roses are the most popular plants for human consumption. Flowering plants are consumed as part of a meal. A good example of this is when they have been put in cakes to accompany a meal.
Herb – These are plants that are usually sold as cooking ingredients or as a delicacy. For example, rosemary is a common herb used for flavoring a variety of dishes.
Roots – These are underground, with an edible root that is typically found in the ground. An example of this is carrots, which are commonly found in soups. They are also commonly found in other dishes that use vegetables.
Vegetables – These plants are eaten for their nutritional value. For example, cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family. However, people can eat its flower. It’s generally not consumed as a vegetable, but as a flower.
Trees – These are mostly hardwood trees, such as cedar. They can grow to heights of over 300 feet. They are generally not used for eating in their wood form. However, they are more often used for landscaping or as a source of lumber.
Plants are used for culinary purposes, especially in the form of fruit, vegetables, grains, and herbs. Some foods include vegetables as their main ingredient, such as the avocado or tomatoes. Many other food products are made up of several different ingredients, some of which are edible plants, such as cereal, cheese, and chocolate.
There are a few plants that are commonly