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Flowering Plants: Adaptability to Water Stress



  May 11, 2024

Flowering Plants: Adaptability to Water Stress



1. What is the key to the success of plants?

Plants are excellent at adapting to local conditions. They are specialists, making the most of what is close by to where they germinate. They use environmental signals to shape their growth and development.

2. What is hydrosignalling in plants?

Hydrosignalling is the way plants sense where water is, not by measuring moisture levels directly but by sensing other soluble molecules that move with the water within plants. This system allows plant roots to fine-tune their shape to local water conditions.

3. What is xerobranching?

Xerobranching is a system used by plants to manage where roots branch in response to water availability in the soil. When roots can’t take in water from the soil, they rely on water from their own veins deep inside the root, which changes the direction of water movement and disrupts the flow of the branching hormone auxin.

4. How do roots and shoots of a plant reduce water loss?

A plant’s roots use a similar system to reduce water loss as its shoots. Leaves stop water loss during drought conditions by closing micro-pores called stomata on their surfaces. Similarly, in roots, the anti-branching hormone ABA reduces water loss by closing nano-pores called plasmodesmata that link every root cell together.

5. What is the difference between the roots of flowering plants and non-flowering plants like ferns?

Roots from flowering plants like tomato, thale cress, maize, wheat, and barley respond to moisture in a way that suggests xerobranching is a common trait in them. However, roots from ferns, an early evolving land plant species, don’t respond to water in this way. Their roots grow more uniformly. This suggests flowering species are better at adapting to water stress than earlier land plants such as ferns.



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