Monday, November 21, 2011

Green Roof Plant Design - Heliotropoism, Diaheliotropoism and Paraheliotroposim

Understanding photosynthesis processes in green roof plants is crucial to the green roof designer and we have discussed the difference between C3, C4 and CAM photosynthesis processes in prior notes, including;
Yet nature is complicated and does not limit herself in resisting environmental stressor conditions to just the above three types of photosynthesis processes.

Cowpeas and other plants for example possess the ability to adjust their leaves position to either increase or decrease the amount of leaf surface area receiving direct sunlight.
Under Intense Sunlight Leaves Fold to Prevent Desiccation

Under optimal Sunlight C3 Leaves Open Widely

Under Optimal Sunlight Conditions C3 Leaves Open Widely
Heliotropoism is the term used to describe a plant's actions when it orients leaves to receive more sunlight and thereby increasing photosynthesis capabilities, i.e. - more CO2 fixation.

Diaheliotropoism describes a plant whose leaves actually track the sun'd path, maximizing solar contact.

Paraheliotroposim denotes a plants actions similar to the above photographs.  During parahelioproposim, plants may fold or move their leaves to either;

  • Minimize solar contact, or
  • Minimize total leaf surface area,
either way reducing water loss and preventing desiccation.

Though C3 plants such as the beans - and most other of the world's food plants except the grasses, maize, and sorghum - do not possess as complicated a multi-cellular Calvin Cycle as C4 plants and are more susceptible to drought, they - through Heliotropism biomechanisms they do possess their own unique desiccation prevention mechanisms.

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