Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How Do Plants Get Sunlight, Water & Air?

...
green leaf/ leaf icon isolated image by ramzi hachicho from Fotolia.com

A plant is like a living factory, taking in sunlight, water and air and manufacturing food in the form of energy. Each plant is adapted to its environment so that it will thrive under only the amount of sunlight, water and air that the environment provides. A plant that is moved to a new environment where water, sunlight and air quantities are different will not easily adapt to that environment and may die.

Significance

Plants are composed of a series of systems. Each of the systems relies on one another in order to work. For example, a plant’s breathing is directly related to the way in which the plant will absorb water. Additionally, plants breathe using the energy they receive through photosynthesis, which relies on sunlight. If one of these functions were to stop, the rest would as well and the plant would die.

  • A plant is like a living factory, taking in sunlight, water and air and manufacturing food in the form of energy.
  • A plant that is moved to a new environment where water, sunlight and air quantities are different will not easily adapt to that environment and may die.

Features

If you compare plants from two different environments, you will see that they have developed completely different structures so that they can effectively get sunlight, water and air from the environment that they live in. Even though the plant has a different method of obtaining these resources, they still utilize the resources in similar ways. For example, plants in desert climates have thick leaves so that they conserve moisture while they breathe and deep roots for obtaining moisture from deep in the soil. Plants in areas where water is abundant have shallower roots and thinner, less fleshy leaves.

Function

Plants draw up water from their roots as they lose water during the process of breathing. When a plant breathes, it is called transpiration. The plant has a number of openings on its surface, which are known as stomata. When a plant breathes, its stomata open and it exudes oxygen and takes in carbon dioxide. During this process moisture is lost. Plants that grow in a humid environment typically undergo transpiration at a constant rate. Plants such as cactus that grow in desert climates may only undergo transpiration at night when the temperatures are cool.

  • If you compare plants from two different environments, you will see that they have developed completely different structures so that they can effectively get sunlight, water and air from the environment that they live in.
  • Plants such as cactus that grow in desert climates may only undergo transpiration at night when the temperatures are cool.

Effects

As a plant loses moisture through transpiration, it absorbs more moisture at the root level. The water is transported through capillary action up strawlike cells known as xylem. Transpiration causes a plant to lose about 90 percent of the moisture that the plant takes in at the roots. The remaining 10 percent is absorbed by plant tissue and used in the process of photosynthesis.

Benefits

Plants take in sunlight as a part of the photosynthesis process. As sunlight strikes the leaves, each leaf acts as a solar collector by absorbing solar radiation. The solar radiation triggers a chemical reaction in the cells of leaves that creates oxygen, starches and sugars from water and carbon dioxide.

  • As a plant loses moisture through transpiration, it absorbs more moisture at the root level.
  • The solar radiation triggers a chemical reaction in the cells of leaves that creates oxygen, starches and sugars from water and carbon dioxide.

Related Articles

Salt Water Effects on Plants
Salt Water Effects on Plants
How Do Plants Get Food and Water?
How Do Plants Get Food and Water?
The Process of Transpiration in Vascular Plants
The Process of Transpiration in Vascular Plants
Importance of Water to Plants
Importance of Water to Plants
How Does the Stem of a Water Lily Help it Grow In a Pond?
How Does the Stem of a Water Lily Help it Grow In a...
Desert Plants Vs. Rainforest Plants
Desert Plants Vs. Rainforest Plants
Importance of Water in Plant Life
Importance of Water in Plant Life
The Effects of Vitamin C & Folic Acid on the Growth of Plants
The Effects of Vitamin C & Folic Acid on the Growth...
How Do Plants Gain Weight?
How Do Plants Gain Weight?
Do Plants Grow Slower at Night?
Do Plants Grow Slower at Night?
How Plants Transport Water & Nutrients
How Plants Transport Water & Nutrients
What Makes Plants Grow Towards the Sun?
What Makes Plants Grow Towards the Sun?
What Are the Functions of the Endodermis of a Root?
What Are the Functions of the Endodermis of a Root?
Why Do Plants Need Hydrogen?
Why Do Plants Need Hydrogen?
List of Marine Water Plants
List of Marine Water Plants
Garden Guides
×