Questions tagged [plant-physiology]

Study of the normal functioning of plants and plant cells

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46
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 are ...
43
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4answers
19k 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 ...
38
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2answers
10k views

Why do some vegetables taste bitter?

Bitter gourd, cucumber, etc. are bitter to taste. Which chemical causes bitterness in them? I found these when I searched online: this says that it is because of calcium, while this and this talk ...
33
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1answer
9k 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 ...
32
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2answers
2k views

Can any animals photosynthesize?

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 ...
31
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4answers
7k 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 ...
27
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1answer
7k 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? ...
21
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9answers
5k views

If plants and trees *want* carbon dioxide, why is car traffic something bad?

This is going to sound really stupid or as a joke, but... Ever since I was a little kid, I have been confused about the following: Humans need air/oxygen to breathe in order to live. Plants/trees/...
21
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1answer
889 views

What is the biological age of grafted plants?

Suppose you graft a piece of an existing 'old' plant onto a host plant. Will the graft continue to grow having the same biological age as its parent? In other words, would the graft die at the same ...
20
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5answers
5k views

What determines the spiral direction of plants?

Some plants and vines spiral clockwise as they go along (right direction) and some spiral anticlockwise (left direction). What determines which direction they spiral along? At first, I believed it to ...
20
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3answers
1k 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 ...
19
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2answers
15k 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 ...
18
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2answers
8k 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 ...
17
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2answers
18k views

Is this a grass cell?

I found this picture online claiming it was a grass cell. Clearly it is a cross section image but I was hoping you could tell me if this is actually grass, or something else if anything.
17
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4answers
12k 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 ...
17
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1answer
53k views

How can Valonia ventricosa cells get so big?

Valonia ventricosa are single-celled algae that range between one and few centimetres. In rare cases, they can reach sizes exceeding 5cm. They range from grass-green to dark green, and some are even a ...
17
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3answers
4k 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 ...
15
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1answer
2k views

If plants “alternate generations” between sporophytes and gametophytes, why don't we say the same of humans?

I've been reading on Wikipedia about how plants alternate generations between a diploid sporophyte (usually the dominant part) and haploid gametophyte (in flowering plants, the pollen and ovule sacs). ...
15
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3answers
700 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 ...
15
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3answers
1k 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 that can fix their own nitrogen (without the help of bacteria). Plants get their nitrogen in the form ...
15
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1answer
2k 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 ...
14
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1answer
11k views

Can plants produce oxygen at night (without light)?

I accidentally clicked on a "Top n X's that Y" result in google and found Top 9 Plants that ...
14
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2answers
13k 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 ...
14
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1answer
5k 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 ...
14
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1answer
169 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 ...
13
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5answers
16k 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 ...
13
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1answer
681 views

Are two colors (red + blue) necessary for LED grow lights, or would either color be sufficient?

Below are some chlorophyll absorption spectra from other answers here. There is strong absorption at both the blue/violet end, and the red end of the spectrum, and presumably both of these contribute ...
12
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1answer
4k 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 (...
12
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1answer
589 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 ...
11
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2answers
14k 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 ...
11
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1answer
591 views

Why do birches have a white bark?

Several species of the tree genres Betula have a white bark,especially when they are young. This is quite peculiar to trees - at least in central Europe; so I'm wondering if there is a ecological ...
11
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4answers
14k views

Why do plants store energy as carbohydrates and not as fats?

In my introductory biology class, we are learning about biomolecules. The textbook says fats are a more efficient energy store than carbohydrates. So my question is - why would plants store their ...
11
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1answer
8k 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 ...
11
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2answers
3k views

How would a plant sprout and grow in a zero gravity environment?

Have any experiments been carried out involving sprouting and growing plants in a zero gravity environment? If so, what was the outcome? How did the plants sprout out of the soil without gravity? Did ...
11
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1answer
11k 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 ...
11
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2answers
258 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 ...
11
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1answer
1k 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 ...
11
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2answers
179 views

Can you accelerate the growth of a plant by accelerating its surroundings?

I had this weird idea of making plants grow faster when I first visited an indoor nursery which used floodlights instead of sunlight. They turned on during the day and went off during night in cycles. ...
10
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1answer
4k views

Could plants do photosynthesis at moonlight?

Related to this and this but not exactly same; could plants do photosynthesis at moonlight or more dim-intensity light?
10
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2answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
295 views

(How) does coppicing fundamentally alter tree growth?

I am interested in adding the ability to model coppice tree production to a model of perennial crops (Miguez et al 2008).. Implementing the biomass pools and allocation parameters required for tree ...
10
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1answer
3k 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?
10
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1answer
1k 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 ...
10
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1answer
4k 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 leaves?...
10
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1answer
211 views

How does a garlic clove thrive inside a closed refrigerator?

A garlic clove has been growing very well inside a closed refrigerator. It has developed beautiful green stalks, which I think are the equivalent of leafs. Since they are green, I assume they ...
10
votes
1answer
196 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
686 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
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1answer
2k views

What could cause spiral tree growth?

While hiking through one of the areas burned in the 1988 Yellowstone fires, I noticed that some of the trees appeared to have grown in spiral patterns. Most downed trees have crack patterns that ...
9
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1answer
4k views

What types of light can't a plant photosynthesize in?

I have a plant on my desk, and it got me to wondering: Can my plant use the light from my monitors to photosynthesize? If so, what light (apart from green light, to a degree) can't plants use to ...
9
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3answers
4k 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 ...

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