We are losing biodiversity at an unprecedented rate, which will have unknown but                          potentially devastating consequences for the Earth’s planetary systems. Before we can
conserve biodiversity, however, we must understand it, both as a concept and by performing
an assessment of the diversity of life on our planet. Here, I highlight and explore
the relationships between people and plants. Plants perform a diverse array of
ecosystem processes, which provide us with a huge number of ecosystem services. We
have domesticated a relatively tiny number of plant species to better optimize some of
the products they provide us, including food, fiber, and fuel, but our relationships even
with these few species are complex. Using the Solanaceae as an example, I explore the
cultural, societal, economic, and nutritional aspects of our relationships with crop
plants, as well as our use and knowledge of the genetic diversity stored in their wild
relatives. Conserving plant biodiversity is vital for ourselves and for the rest of the
biosphere, but plant scientists cannot achieve this alone. Highlighting the importance
of biodiversity is key to attract public support and collaboration, enabling us to better
map diversity and understand the impacts of our local behaviors on a global scale.