Study of the normal functioning of plants and plant cells

learn more… | top users | synonyms

34
votes
4answers
7k views

Do plants produce any heat?

Many plants (e.g. roses, palms) can be protected from frost during the winter if shielded with an appropriate coat that can be bought in garden shops. Do plants produce any heat that can be kept ...
33
votes
1answer
3k views

What is it that creates that wonderful smell after a fresh rain?

I've heard that the wonderful smell of a fresh rain is actually chemicals released from the trees and grass and other plants. What is the process that allows these chemicals to be released? What ...
28
votes
1answer
2k views

How long will a vegetable live for after being harvested?

I understand this might depend on the types of vegetables, but is there an average or studied specifics? Does it die immediately? Is there a way to precisely diagnose death in plants? If so, what are ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

How do trees manage to grow equally in all directions?

I was walking down a road with these beautifully huge trees when this question occurred to me. Large trees with many thick branches have to grow equally in all directions, or they would tip over. Is ...
20
votes
1answer
534 views

Why are many fruits sour?

Many fruits (like apples, berries, citrus fruits etc.) contain high levels of organic acids, especially malic acid and citric acid. Are there any evolutionary functions of those acids in ripe fruits? ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
15
votes
3answers
489 views

Can plants get cancer?

I can't think of any reason why plants wouldn't be able to get cancer, but I've never heard of a plant growing a tumor. I've also never seen a plant with a noticeable abnormal growth. Can plants get ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

Why do some trees have a life span, while some don't?

I have heard that there is no limit on the growth of trees, but then why do some trees, such as boxelders and poplars, tend to live shorter than redwoods, for example? Some advertisements for improved ...
14
votes
2answers
7k views

How will rising carbon dioxide levels in the troposphere affect photosynthetic producers?

Much discussion has been had about the affects of climate change on plantlife, but how will rising carbon dioxide concentrations affect the photosynthetic process itself? Since CO₂ is a reagent in ...
14
votes
2answers
6k views

How does a plant grow before photosynthesis is possible?

During photosynthesis, a plant translates CO2, water and light into O2. I assume the carbon C is further used for the growing process. I wonder how the plant grows before the time where photosynthesis ...
14
votes
1answer
315 views

What are the requirements for a stable carbon cycle in sealed “bottle gardens”`?

The most famous example of a sealed bottle garden is David Latimer's bottle with a Spiderworth plant, pictured below, which has been sealed for 40 years. My own attempt at a bottle garden is failing ...
13
votes
4answers
4k views

How do trees lift water higher than 10 meters?

The atmosphere pressure is 10 meters of water (approx). This means that it is impossible to lift water higher than 10 meters with vacuum or сapillary action (on Earth, under normal conditions). There ...
13
votes
3answers
334 views

Why do some fruits have a much wider range of acceptable sizes than others?

Some fruits such as pumpkins can grow to be 100 lbs. Under different conditions, the same variety of pumpkin can produce a 15 lb. fruit. Both plants are healthy, and look the same except for their ...
13
votes
1answer
177 views

What is the biological age of grafted plants?

Suppose you graft a piece of an existing 'old' plant. Will it continue to grow having the same biological age as its parent? I.e., would it die at the same time as its parent? Or would the process of ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

How does a tree trunk sprout and grow after being cut?

After I cut trees into logs and remove the branches in winter, they start growing. They sprout out and grow completely normal looking stems and leaves and maintain them all summer. The sprouts mostly ...
13
votes
1answer
124 views

Does a theory exist for the formation of thylakoid structure?

I'm interested in how the structure of the thylakoid forms into its characteristic highly rugose stacks of grana. What causes the thylakoid to invaginate and self-associate, albeit with what appear to ...
10
votes
3answers
299 views

Is there a fundamental reason that plants cannot fix their own nitrogen?

Plants must have nitrogen to grow. According to the answer to this question, there are no plants can fix their own nitrogen (without the help of bacteria). Plants get their nitrogen in the form of ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

What's the effect of oxygen deficit on plants?

As I know all cells require oxygen. So my question is how efficiently can plants operate in no-oxygen atmosphere? Do all plants produce enough oxygen for themselves? Can they consume their own oxygen ...
10
votes
2answers
179 views

Why do cucurbits produce so much fluid when their stems are cut?

When carrying out some germination tests on species in the Cucurbitaceae, I notice that young plants of this family produce a lot of clear fluid when they are dissected. Most plants I dissect do not ...
10
votes
1answer
576 views

How do pineapples and lemongrass grow?

You can't plant the leaves, you can't plant the fruit, but, if you plant the part where leaves and fruit meet you will grow a whole pineapple plant. The part of the pineapple where the leaves meet ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Is it possible to genetically modify a plant at home?

Would I be able to genetically modify a plant at home? What equipment will be necessary? I think it might be a fun change from the 'norm' of regular hybridisation, to try some inter-family gene ...
9
votes
2answers
4k views

Does Sansevieria trifasciata really absorb Carbon Dioxide at night?

There's a claim that Sansevieria trifasciata (Mother-in-law’s Tongue) generates oxygen from carbon dioxide during the night. This seems surprising to me: that process requires energy; plants generate ...
9
votes
1answer
338 views

Black bumps on the cut surface of an avocado

I cut an underripe avocado in half and put half of it, without the pit but with the peel, in the refrigerator. A day later, I see very small black bumps along the cut surface. What are they? What ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do some plant species have lobed leaves, while similar species in the same habitat don't?

Some plants have lobed leaves, like the English oak (Quercus robur), while other plants growing the same deciduous woodland habitats, and very often growing alongside oaks, such as the European beech ...
9
votes
1answer
673 views

Why can you graft two unrelated cacti successfully, but you cannot do this on garden trees?

Any cactus can be grafted onto any other cactus, and even the most unlike of them grow together. My latest graft was a Schlumbergera truncata scion on an Opuntia microdasys rootstock. This kind of ...
9
votes
2answers
5k views

If I graft two trees together while young, will they grow as one plant?

If I were to graft two apple saplings together, by bending the tops toward each other and lashing them together, will the plants grow as one and benefit from one another, or will they be fighting each ...
9
votes
1answer
220 views

How would a warm winter affect maple sap production?

The past winter (2011-2012) was warmer than usual. Trees are normally tapped in late February when the daily maximum temperature goes above freezing. However, assuming that there have been ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Why animals can move and plants cannot in general?

To clarify, I think the answer should be able to explain: What are animals? What are plants? What's the difference between animals and plants (How do biologists differentiate them, if they ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there any kind of immortality in plants?

I asked a question about immortality of hydra and learned good things about senescence. Now I would like to know about immortality in plants, if there is some kind of immortality in plants and how ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How can Valonia ventricosa cells get so big?

Valonia ventricosa are single celled algae that range between one and few centimeters. In rare cases they can reach sizes exceeding 5cm. They range from grass green, to dark green, and some are even a ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

If the xylem of a woody plant is composed of dead tissue, how does sapwood become heartwood?

If the xylem of a tree is composed entirely of dead tissue, then that means the sapwood is dead. If so, how does it transform into heartwood, and what starts the process?
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Do immature fruits perform photosynthesis?

Most immature fruits are green: peppers, pine cones, plums, lots of them. I want to know if the green is from chlorophyll in the cells. Do the fruit cells perform photosynthesis? When you cover a ...
8
votes
1answer
87 views

How fast is water transported from roots to leaves?

I understand basically how water transport from roots to leaves through the xylem works, but I have no idea of the timescales involved. How long does it take for water to get from root tips to ...
8
votes
1answer
96 views

Why would a venus fly traps mouth that's still “chewing” die?

A venus fly trap produces leaves that act like traps for insects. A trapped insect is digested over several days. The trap then opens again to catch another insect. These traps regularly die off. ...
8
votes
1answer
274 views

What is the maximum potential sucrose concentration of plant sap? What keeps plants below this potential?

I am interested in identifying the maximum potential dissolved sucrose (%w/w) that plant sap could have, and which (biological, physical, chemical) factors constrain the observed sucrose ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

How do white Caladiums perform enough photosynthesis to support their mass?

In some white caladiums, there is less than a square inch of green space spread over the whole leaf. How do these plants perform the photosynthesis necessary to support the large leaves, the roots, ...
7
votes
1answer
394 views

How did these apples grow together?

I came through this pic while scrolling through facebook, and it was a bit strange to me. As far as I know apples have a corymbose type of inflorescence, in which a single pedicel ends in a single ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What chemicals and structures control the *direction* of plant growth in leaves, stems and roots?

If you want a specific plant, let's say the snap peas I am growing that I bought at Agway. I noticed that they grow towards the light source through the nearby window. Also I think roots work the same ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Can any plant regenerate missing tissue?

I have not yet found a plant that, when an insect eats a hole in one of its leaves, it can regenerate the lost tissue. Many plants will grow a new stem if the old one is cut, but it is not a perfect ...
7
votes
2answers
276 views

How many ATP are formed?

What is the number of ATP molecules formed during the photosynthetic processes which consume 8 molecules of $\text{H}_2\text{O}$ due to noncyclic electron transport and subsequent ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

How do lilies sense day and night and open and close their flowers?

We have lots of lily flowers inside our garden. Their flowers are open in day and closed in night. How do lilies sense day and night and open and close their flowers?
7
votes
2answers
24k views

What factors affect the rate of transpiration in plant leaves?

I'm trying to get my head around factors which affect transpiration in leaves. For example, how would applying petroleum jelly to the surface of plant leaves affect their rate of transpiration? I ...
7
votes
1answer
107 views

Gender and age-specific mutation rate in plants

Background General concept According to Cochran and Harpending (2013), mothers transmits on average a number $x$ of new mutations to their offspring. This number $x$ is independent of the age of the ...
7
votes
1answer
4k views

How does plant grafting work?

Plant grafting is a process whereby a piece of one plant is inserted into another and results in a change of the original plant. For example, grafting a piece of a lemon tree into a bitter orange tree ...
7
votes
2answers
94 views

Exactly which amino acids are phosphorylated in higher plants during state transitions?

I know it is usually stated as the threonine residue near the N-terminus of either light harvesting complex (lhc) b1 or lhcb2, but if this is somehow lost, say in a mutant, is the system flexible ...
7
votes
1answer
291 views

Compare and contrast “Rubisco activity” and “assimilation rate” (is there a difference, and if so, what is it)?

I am confused about the variable "RuBisCO activity". How is it measured, and is it any different from the net assimilation rate? Based on some background reading (e.g. Kling, 2008; Lambers et al ...
7
votes
1answer
570 views

Can I estimate leaf temperature from air temperature? What other information would be required?

Physiological measurements such as respiration rate and assimilation rate depend on temperature. Most papers report tissue temperature (e.g. leaf temperature for leaf measurements), although some ...
7
votes
1answer
330 views

How do plants 'tell time' for circadian rhythms based on a ~24 cycle?

I've read that many plants have some sort of circadian rhythm where they perform a certain action on a cycle of about 24 hours, like the mimosa plant opening and closing its leaves. Obviously this is ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the effect of a pure-oxygen environment on a plant?

Just read What's the effect of oxygen deficit on plants? ; and wondered whether the opposite would have any effect on a plant. That is to say, if a potted plant were placed under a bell-jar and ...
6
votes
1answer
302 views

Why is it harder to sequence plant genomes than animal genomes?

Plants seem to be less complex organisms than animals, but despite that there are less plant genomes sequenced. Is that because plant genomes are more complex, for example in terms of regulatory ...