Plant's are well known for their ability to convert sunlight into food through the process known as photosynthesis. This single trait is one of key components leading to the full development of life on our planet. Predators, like humans, are unable to create their own food and must absorb it from a third party. The conversion process does not protect the plant from harmful UV rays, which can cause serious damage.
Some plants have pigments in place within their leaf and stem structures to protect them from damaging sun rays. Lutein, for example, is a powerful antioxidant that is found in yellow, orange and dark-green fruits and vegetables. These secondary compounds are naturally developed as the plant grows and sometimes offer beneficial properties to predators as wells as their hosts.
Some plants will naturally grow near and around shaded areas. These plants, which require large amounts of protection from the sun as well as enough light for photosynthesis, are often found beneath dense ground coverage or tall trees. Cactus use their modified leaf-needles to provide shade to the stem as well as protection from predators.
Studies have shown that Vitamin C is a necessary component in plant growth. The vitamin protects the plant from harmful UV radiation and aids in the repair of damaged cells. It is one of the only known vitamins that is required by the majority of all plant life. It should be noted that various enzymes are responsible for the proper absorption and processing of Vitamin C. These enzymes, which can also protect plants in other ways such as repairing cell damage and processing energy, are solely activated by light energy.
Many garden stores sell plastic plant covers to offer protection from frost, wind and sun burn. The covers are specially designed to give plants a large variety of protections, including coverage from pests and fungal disease, while still allowing for some sun and rain penetration.
Protecting plants from the sun is a case-by-case decision. Some plants naturally contain protection within their organs for protection, while others require assistance from nearby wildlife or humans. It is important to remember to give plants proper sunlight when choosing protection methods to avoid starvation or other similar consequences.