Plant Growth and Photosynthesis
Do plants have any other way of growing besides
Plants do not use photosynthesis to grow!!! They use cellular respiration
just like every other organism to process energy into work. Plants use
oxygen just like we do. Photosynthesis is principally only a process to
change sunlight into a chemical form for storage.
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Several kinds of flowering plants survive without the use of
chlorophyll which is what makes plants green and able to produce sugar
through photosynthesis. Dodder is a parasitic nongreen (without
chlorophyll) plant that is commonly found growing on jewelweed and other
plants in damp areas. Dodder twines around its host, (A host is an
organism that has fallen victim to a parasite.), like a morning glory
and attaches itself at certain points along the stem where it absorbs
sugar and nutrients from the hosts sap.
Another flowering plant, known as Indian pipe, is saprophytic. It does
not have chlorphyll either. A saprophyte is an organism that absorbs
dead organic material from its environment. The Indian pipe gets its
food from decaying leaves, wood, and other dead materials found in a
damp woodland. Another woodland plant, similar to Indian pipe, is squaw
People don't think of them as plants, but mushrooms are saprophytic
plants as well. Several thousand species exist in damp environments
throughout the world!
All green plants produce food for growth by photosynthesis. There are a few
flowering plants like broom rape and Indian pipes that are saprophytic, that
is grow somewhat like fungi on other organic material, and a few like some
mistletoes, that are parasitic, growing on other living plants, usually
You may still find some books that consider fungi to be plants, but most
biologists now consider them a separate kingdom.
There are different types of photosynthesis (C3, C4, and CAM metabolic
pathways). They all involve respiration at some point each
day/night. However, only photosynthesis can fix carbon (use CO2 and H2O
and with sunlight (energy) produce O2 and C6H12O6 that it needs to grow).
Anthony R. Brach
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Update: June 2012