Like all members of the Kingdom Plantae, P. niruri is autotrophic meaning it can create its own food.  In particular, it’s known as a photosynthetic organism. Photosynthesis is a process plants use to convert energy from the sun into sugars. This process uses water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and sunlight to form sugar (C6H12O6) and oxygen (O2). File:Photosynthesis equation.svg

Stonebreaker gets the necessary water by absorbing it from the soil with its root system. Carbon dioxide is taken from the atmosphere by the leaves and transported across the cell wall through the stomata. Sunlight is absorbed by P. niruri’s chloroplasts. Within the chloroplast is a specialized green pigment called chlorophyll which convert the sun’s light energy into chemical energy that fuels the photosynthetic process. The sugar (glucose) produced at the end of photosynthesis is then used in cellular respiration to generate ATP. Any leftover glucose is then stored as starch. In addition, the oxygen byproduct is then made use of by other organisms for respiration. Specialized tissues are utilized within P. niruri to transport sugar and water throughout the plant. Xylem is one type of vascular tissue used to transport water and minerals from the root system to the rest of the plant. The other type of tissue, phloem, is used to carry the sugar and other organic materials to all areas of the plant including the roots and Glomeromycota fungi.

Speaking of Glomeromycota fungi, let’s take a look at how Phyllanthus niruri interacts with other species.