Archive for April, 2012

Did You Know…..

April 12, 2012

Leaf

Did you know that leaves do many things for plants and people?

Unlike any other organism, plants are able to manufacture their own food.  Their leaves provide this function. Through their pores (stomata) they take in carbon dioxide for photosynthesis and release oxygen, the by-product of their respiration process. This is why the stomata are sometimes referred to as the plant’s lungs. Leaves also serve as “air cleaners” for people, providing our oxygen and removing carbon dioxide from the air.

The veins in the leaf carry food produced by the leaves to the plant’s areas of growth and bring up water and minerals absorbed through the roots.

Many leaves store water. Leaves utilize some water in the process of photosynthesis, an any excess moisture is transpired as a vapor through their pores. This in turn cools the leaves and they surrounding environment. That is why it is so much cooler under a shaded tree.  Not only do the leaves block the sun but also the air is cooled by the moisture vapor of the transpiring plant.

Leaves store, and later shed, the plant’s waste products. Leaves are often the “protectors” of the plant. Through spines, fuzzy hairs and sometimes markings deceive the pests. Some help the plant climb to access more light. Some leaves have even turned their job over to the stems, when the leaves have become a liability.Leaves decompose and provide more nitrogen/nutrients for the plant to take up through the roots.

You didn’t know leaves are so busy, did you?

Tropical Plant Technician, October 1997


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