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Entertaining botany near the porch.

on
May 13, 2019

Every day I sit on my porch and look at flowers, clouds and birds. I do this not once a day, but a lot. Early in the morning I drink a coffee and watch how the flowers open and the birds wake up, where the wind comes from and what the weather will be like.

During the day, I am watching everything around – how the flowers turn their heads towards the sun, how the sparrows in the feeder choose what is tastier, the magpies hatch the chicks, and the woodpecker seeks food in the old apple tree. The season of May bugs riot has just recently ended here. They are frantic in their desire to break into something. Continuous hum and constant blows on any surface. Now butterflies have appeared. For some reason, they really like the bush of white lilacs. Not tulips, not lilac lilacs, exactly white. And in the evening I watch the flowers close, moths crawl out, stars appear and bats fly out to hunt.

Suddenly, I was very interested in why some flowers close at night or in the rain, and some do not. Well, “why” is not so bad. But due to what. Moreover, it is believed that dandelions are closed before the rain. And I have seen many times that no. More precisely, sometimes yes, sometimes no. And the birds sometimes stop singing before the rain, and sometimes they don’t.
Obviously, the reason for this behavior of the flowers is a change in the environment – air temperature, humidity and other parameters. But they have no muscles – how do they do it? And how do their sensors work? And the most interesting is why not everyone is doing it.

I sat down to read.
Having studied the issue, I came to the conclusion that the reason why some flowers close at night and others not is in the history of the evolution of each particular species. I did not find any lists that can be analyzed.
The most common theories say that in this way plants protect their reproductive organs from cold / moisture / predators.
There are essentially two mechanisms. One is mostly used for the movement of flowers – when enough light gets in (in the morning or when the weather clears up, each plant has its own sufficiency criteria), the growth process of the inner part of the petal is activated more intensively than the outer and the flower opens. When the light intensity drops to a certain level, the outer part of the petal begins to grow faster than the inner one and the flower closes.
The second method is used by plants for the most part for leaves. It consists of a “muscle play” – some plants have special organs – part of the leaf or stem consists of cells that can grow in size and decrease. And in some plants, all cells have such properties. And so – with a change in environmental factors (humidity, temperature, mechanical stress, etc.), the “muscles”, for example, increase on the bottom of the sheet and the sheet folds. With the disappearance of external factors, the “muscles” on the outside of the leaf relax, and on the inside, they tighten and the leaf opens. The mechanisms for this in plants are different.
For me, the question was not fully clarified, but here we need to go chat with knowledgeable people.
If anyone is interested in more details about the mechanisms, then below I have collected information on the physiology of plant movement:

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Olga Dzyuba
Kharkiv, UA

Hello! My name is Olga, nice to meet you! In this blog, I am talking about our travels to beautiful and unusual places in Ukraine and beyond. Well and the history of these places. I sincerely believe that it is possible to find something interesting anywhere - just look at the outside world from different angles)))
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