Basic Plant Phys questions

Dr. David A Starrett dstarret at BIOLOGY.SEMO.EDU
Wed Nov 25 10:21:09 EST 1998

  I have a couple more of those simple questions I get asked that turn out
to be beyond my experiences.

1)  Does lightning affect photoperiodism?  An obvious question since a
flash of white light can interrupt the night period.  My guess is that it
does interrupt that night.  It doesn't end up altering flowering as it
doesn't happen night after night.  However, I am guessing that some places
in the tropics where rain and T-storms are like clock-work that it is
possible that lightning might have influence?

2)  Can plants (are there any that can) use moonlight for photosynthesis?
I am guessing it is possible as moonlight is reflected white light from
sun.  Does anyone know of any examples?

I have been collecting the questions of this sort that I receive intending
to use them as projects, etc. for plant phys or botany classes.  Things
like why do leaves stain sidewalks in the fall, why does 7-up, and such
make cut flowers last longer, etc. (both questions I previously ran past
plant-ed and got good answers to).  Does anyone have any other questions pf
similar nature.  Questions that apply what is learned in a plant biology
class to everyday questions arising OUTSIDE of the classroom.  Others I use
are why do we cut flowers twice, how does water go 350 feet up a tree, etc.  

Any others?

Dave Starrett

*                                                           *
*  Dr. David Starrett                                       *
*  Biology Department, MS 6200                              *
*  Southeast Missouri State University                      *
*  Cape Girardeau, MO 63701                                 *
*  Ph: (573) 651-2382                                       *
*  Fax: (573) 986-6433                                      *
*  email: dstarret at                         *
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