- Written by Anna Strom
Did you know that deciduous, or leafy, trees which stems are prevented from growing upright produce additional plant matter to help them reach towards the sky? And that scientist study this mechanism hoping to find keys to make trees produce more of the coveted tree component, used to make consumer products such as printing paper, hygiene products and biofuels?
Both were things to be learned at a Fascination of Plants’ Day, given at Umeå, Sweden, as well as in 38 other countries, as part of an initiative by the Brussels-based European Plant Science Organisation.
But first let us look at the mechanism. Say, for instance, that a seed of an aspen tree took root and started growing into a tree plant on the slope of a hill. If its roots could keep it solidly in place, and there were adequate nutrients, water and sunlight, chances are that the resulting young tree would grow its delicate stem in a U-shape, with the top striving towards the sky. It would do so by reinforcing the one side of its stem with an extra layer of cellulose.* Stressors other than gravity could cause similar reactions, according to online encyclopedias. Nevertheless stability, or rather, trying to create or to maintain it, seems to be an issue.