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Photosynthesis In Relation To Light, Temperature And Water

1662 words - 7 pages

Photosynthesis in Relation to Light, Temperature and Water

Light has three principal characteristics that affect plant growth:
quantity, quality, and duration.

Light quantity refers to the intensity or concentration of sunlight
and varies with the season of the year. The maximum is present in the
summer and the minimum in winter. The more sunlight a plant receives
(up to a point), the better capacity it has to produce plant food
through photosynthesis. As the sunlight quantity decreases the
photosynthetic process decreases. Light quantity can be decreased in a
garden or greenhouse by using shade-cloth or shading paint above the
plants. It can be increased by surrounding plants with white or
reflective material or supplemental lights.

Light quality refers to the colour or wavelength reaching the plant
surface. Sunlight can be broken up by a prism into respective colours
of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. On a rainy
day, raindrops act as tiny prisms and break the sunlight into these
colours producing a rainbow. Red and blue light have the greatest
effect on plant growth. Green light is least effective to plants as
most plants reflect green light and absorb very little. It is this
reflected light that makes them appear green. Blue light is primarily
responsible for vegetative growth or leaf growth. Red light when
combined with blue light encourages flowering in plants. Fluorescent
or cool-white light is high in the blue range of light quality and is
used to encourage leafy growth. These lights are excellent for
starting seedlings. Incandescent light is high in the red or orange
range but generally produces too much heat to be a valuable light
source. Fluorescent "grow" lights have a mixture of red and blue
colours that attempts to imitate sunlight as closely as possible. They
are costly and generally not of any greater value than regular
fluorescent lights.

Light duration or photoperiod refers to the amount of time that a
plant is exposed to sunlight. When the concept of photoperiod was
first recognized it was thought that the length of periods of light
triggered flowering. The various categories of response were named
according to the light length (i.e., short-day and long-day). It was
then discovered that it is not the length of the light period but the
length of uninterrupted dark periods that is critical to floral
development. The ability of many plants to flower is controlled by
photoperiod.

Plants can be classified into three categories, depending upon their
flowering response to the duration of darkness. These are short-day,
long-day, or day-neutral plants. Short-day, (long nights) plants form
their flowers only when the day length is less than about 12 hours in
duration. Short-day plants include many spring and fall flowering
plants...

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