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Plant Physiology & Nutritional Transportation - Section 3 - Shoots (leaf and above ground structure)

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Plant Physiology & Nutritional Transportation

Section 3 - Shoots (leaf and above ground structure)




Air (Shoots) Environment

Shoots, is the above ground parts of the plants.  We will discuss plant cell structure and nutritional transportation within the plants. 

  • This is the area where the plant energy is made.
  • Some of the videos will repeat similar information but they all offer extra bits of information that all combined offer a higher benefit.  In addition, if one video style is not effective in understanding than the virtual reality video/app may be more effective in illustrating for you.


Plant Cell Structure

  • Crayonbox - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Kk19SMbIuqcNI4lew96kA
  • Plant cells are more complicated and exciting than you might think!
  • This video shows you the structure of the plant cell. Sam introduces you to the cell organelles and their functions. You learn about cell membrane, cell wall, nucleus and nucleolus, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi complex, vacuole, chloroplasts, and mitochondrion. Sam explains how proteins are produced inside the cell.
  • The NAMOO app features beautiful encyclopedia-inspired interactive simulations you can use to learn about plants. Plant science is fun! Download your NAMOO and play with roots, stems, flowers, and other plant parts!


Virtual tour of a plant cell

This is a virtual tour of a plant cell you can control by the upper right toggle on the screen of the video.  If your computer is strong enough you can enlarge to full screen (may need to go to youtube site, double click video and it will show link on bottom right of video).  This is a great tool for understanding plant cells and photosynthesis.


photo.jpg Plant Energy Biology

Leaf Anatomy


Upper epidermis is a single layer of cells containing few or no chloroplasts. The cells are quite transparent and permit most of the light that strikes them to pass through to the underlying cells. The upper surface is covered with a waxy, waterproof cuticle, which serves to reduce water loss from the leaf.

  • Epidermal cells are on the upper and lower surfaces of a leaf.
    • The epidermis usually consists of a single layer of cells.,
      • Some specialized leaves of some desert plants and in cold environment plants can have epidermal layers which are several cells thick.
    • Cuticle - Waxy layer that prevent water loss within the leaf.
      • Plants that live in water do not have a cuticle, waxy layer.
    • They have two features which prevent evaporative water loss: they are packed densely together and they are covered by a cuticle, a waxy layer secreted by the cells.
    • Flavonoid pigments are contained in large vacuoles inside the epidermal cells.
      • Flavonoids absorbs ultraviolet radiation,
        • Similar to a sunscreen or tanning lotion for internal layers of the leaf, by filtering out harmful solar ultraviolet radiation.


Palisade layer consists of one or more layers of cylindrical cells oriented with their long axis perpendicular to the plane of the leaf. The cells are filled with chloroplasts (usually several dozen of them) and carry on most of the photosynthesis within the leaf.

  • Palisade cell layer at top of leaf - To absorb more light
    • Palisade cells contain many chloroplasts to absorb all the available light.


Spongy layer beneath the palisade layer, its cells are irregular in shape and loosely packed. Although they contain a few chloroplasts, their main function seems to be the temporary storage of sugars and amino acids that were synthesized in the palisade layer above the spongy layer of the leaf.

They also aid in the exchange of gases between the leaf and the environment. During the day, these cells give off oxygen and water vapor to the air spaces that surround them. They also pick up carbon dioxide from the air spaces.  The air spaces are interconnected and eventually open to the outside through pores called stomata.

  • Collectively, the palisade and spongy layers make up the mesophyll.


A single vascular bundle, no matter how large or small, always contains both xylem and phloem tissues.

  • xylem - Consists of tracheids and vessels that transport water and minerals to the leaves.
  • Phloem - Transports the photosynthetic products from the leaf to the other parts of the plant.


Lower epidermis contains most of the stomata (thousands per square centimeter) which are located in the lower epidermis. Although most of the cells of the lower epidermis resemble those of the upper epidermis, each stoma is flanked by two sausage-shaped cells called guard cells. These differ from the other cells of the lower epidermis not only in their shape but also in having chloroplasts. .


  • Open in light and closed during night.
  • Transpiration is when the plants intakes carbon dioxide, releases via evaporation water and oxygen.
  • More plentiful on the underside of the leaves but are all over the leaf.
  • Approximately 95% of water in the plant transportation system is lost due to transpiration.
    • Water evaporation from stomata as part of the osmatic pressure system.
  • Guard cells when open accumulate potassium salts, causing an osmotic pressure that uptakes water.
  • Guard cells control the open and close stomata function and is influenced largely by the environment (light, temperature and humidity) and results in osmotic pressure.
    • Guard cells can detect blue light and varied levels of CO2 (carbon dioxide).
    • Guard cells are the only epidermal cells to contain chloroplasts.
      • Some chloroplasts are found in the cells of young stems and immature fruits but do not play a large role in photosynthesis.
    • During drought stress guard cells release abscisic acid.
      • It inhibits plant cell growth and is is in part responsible for fruit drop, leaf death and seed dormancy. and helps plants respond to water loss and seasonal changes. Its effects can be reversed with gibberellins.
      • Abscisic acid is a hormone that will trigger dormancy.
        • Often growers tend to think of dry soil negatives as reducing media microbe and fungal life, concentrating salts but few know or appreciate the abscisic effect on plants as only by knowing plant physiology will one tend to appreciate this outside of experience in the field with drought conditions.
          • Do not allow young plants to dry out in their media unless that is part of that natural environment for your plant.  Example of cactus.


I have also added trichomes as they are part of some plants more than others in significance.  However, this is not part of plant physiology and I will discuss more on this subject in future compilations.

  • Trichomes - Help to avert being eaten or invaded by some pests by restricting insect movements and/or by storing toxic or bad-tasting compounds.
    • The rate of transpiration can be reduced due to a reduction in air flow across the leaf surface.




Leaf Anatomy graphic illustrations

  • Plant Biology with NAMOO: Leaf Anatomy - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9Kk19SMbIuqcNI4lew96kA
  • Leaves are beautiful and industrial. Located within every leaf is a fully functional food factory. This production process is called photosynthesis. Sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide are used to produce glucose (food!) and oxygen.



Leaf Types - Monocot & Dicot



Monocots vs Dicots Explained

  • It is really easy to determine a monocot and a dicot. However, first, it is important to understand that monocots and dicots actually represent the two main branches of flowering plants. That means that almost all flowering plants can be divided into one of these two groups. Of course, the key word is almost all. There are some that don't fit into the two groups all that well.
  • The five main characters I like to use are Leaves, Roots, Stems, Cotyledons, and Flowers.
  • For a more detailed description, visit our page at http://www.untamedscience.com/biology...


Watermelon Plant Time Lapse

Learjet15 - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCv5UDsFrvS1Mh838rVJuJSw


The video below explains more of the plant structure.  This is a good video to gain an appreciation of a plant structure as it is in that knowledge that can better not just understand the structure but how nutrition plays its role in building the structure. 

  • By understanding a plants development at the various stages of growth nutrition can be accurately adjusted optimally for the development of the plant.  In short, this knowledge will help you speak plant.


Plant Structure Video

Transcript of the video is available at the youtube site selecting more then transcript in options under video.

More at Bozeman Science:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEik-U3T6u6JA0XiHLbNbOw

  • Paul Andersen explains the major plants structures. He starts with a brief discussion of monocot and dicot plants. He then describes the three main tissues in plants; dermal, ground and vascular. He also describes the plant cells within each of these tissues; epidermis, parenchyma, collenchyma, sclerencyma, xylem and phloem. He describes both primary and secondary growth in plants. He finishes the podcast with a discussion of double fertilization in plants.
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