Location: Outside U.S.
Date: Spring 2014
I was wondering about tree growth. I know that photosynthesis is crucial and that the plant takes the energy from the sun to make the tree but HOW? how can such a little sprout turn into such a big thick rough tree? Where does the material come from? how does the tree use the energy to make it bigger?
Remember that photosynthesis is about plants capturing the Sun’s energy and changing it into chemical (stored) energy in the form of sugars. Both sugar molecules and oxygen are formed from carbon dioxide (from the air) and water. So, plants use carbon dioxide to make sugars (for food, which is stored in the plant, including as the complex sugar cellulose in the wood of trees) and so can grow into very large trees.
Anthony Brach, PhD
Harvard University Herbaria
Photosynthesis along with the minerals that are obtained from the soil give the plant everything it needs to grow, and then some. Apples, oranges, cherries, etc. from trees and carrots, beans, etc. from other plants are full of sugars, protein, etc. from photosynthesis showing clearly that photosynthesis produces much more than the healthy plant needs to grow. All plants and animals depend on photosynthesis for their existence. One of nature's coolest processes.
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Update: November 2011