Efffects of Temperature on Photosynthesis in Plants

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Many people know that leaves fall from the tree when the temperature gets colder. This leads to the logical conclusion that heat affects the photosynthesis process of a plant. Trees loose their leaves as a response to the declining amount of sunlight available during the fall months. The temperature surrounding a plant does affect its photosynthesis process.

Temperature Extremes

Each plant has a range of temperatures which it thrives in. Grasses of the tundra have adapted to the extreme cold while jungle plants deal with the extreme head and humidity. If a plant adapted to a cold environment such as a tundra gets moved to a different environment, such as a rain forest, the plant will die unless appropriate measures are taken. Photosynthesis slows down in cold weather, although most plants subject to a frost die.

Extreme Heat

Plants react to extreme heat by closing their stomata and letting less water out through the leaves. The plant produces more food through photosynthesis during this process. The stomata open wider as the temperature gets colder. If the temperatures do not fall too far, most plants will survive this process.

Heat and Drought

The combination of extreme heat and drought causes plants to close their stomata, but the stomata, cellular structures that allow a plant to “breathe” let more water pass through the leaves. This causes the leaves of the plant to wilt. The amount of food that a plant produces from photosynthesis also decreases during these conditions.

Daylight’s Effect on Plants

The amount of daylight affects the efficiency of photosynthesis. Plants grown in summer daylight conditions but autumn temperatures do not produce as much food as plants grown in summer daylight conditions and summer temperatures.


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