General Adaptations

 Because Moringa oleifera is a vascular plant, it adapted certain tissues in order to maintain their life style. These tissues include xylem and phloem, which were discussed on the classification portion of this website. Being a vascular plant, M. oleifera is able to grow much larger than the plants without a vascular system and transport tissues. When plants evolved from being vascular from non-vascular, they also evolved from having a dominant gametophyte to a dominant sporophyte. Moringa oleifera, along with other plants physically adapt themselves to the environment they are in. They are involved in tropisms, which is the movement in response to a stimulus. Moringa oleifera exhibits phototropism, the bending of the plant towards a light source in order to increase the amount of photosynthesis that occurs. Find out more information about photosynthesis here. Photomorphogenesis also occurs. This is when the plants morphological appearance is altered due to the exposure of light. When a plant is exposed to high amounts of light, the leaves will become smaller and more thick. The leaves are thickened in order to avoid desiccation. When plants are exposed to less light, their leaves become larger and more thin. This is so its surface area increases which will result in an increased amount of photosynthesis. Plants change their morphology and position to other stimuli such as touch and gravity. Geotropism, the plants movement responding to gravity, causes the roots to normally grow down, away from gravity, and the stems to grow up, against gravity. The means the roots exhibit positive geotropism, movement towards a stimulus, while the stem shows negative geotropism, movement away from as stimulus. Thigmomorphogenesis is the morphological response plants make to a touch. Many plants will change their physical appearance by becoming thicker and more sturdy when exposed to certain touch stimuli, like wind for example. Moringa oleifera is well adapted to growing in various conditions. Two of those adaptations M. oleifera at the xylem, It is able to grow in soils that have a pH that ranges from 4.5 to 9, even though it prefers neutral soil. Neither the type of soil or amount of rainfall seem to have much of an affect on the growth of the tree.

Temperature Adaptations

 Temperature is the only aspect that appears to deter the growth of Moringa oleifera. Studies have been completed to see how the plant would react to temperatures cooler than the tropical temperatures it prolifically grows at. In one study, 264 trees were assigned randomly to different fluctuating night and day temperature regimes, 10/20°C, 15/25°C, and 20/30°C. It was observed that the difference in temperatures affected the thickness of the leaves. As the temperature decreased, the leaf thickness increased. One average, the leaf thickness would increase by 43.1% with every 10°C decrease. The thicker leaves is caused by an increase in mesophyll tissue development. This can also be displayed in cherimoya (Annona cherimola). the increase in mesophyll tissue development is to minimize the negative effects of photoinhibition. Photoinhibition occurs when the rate of light energy absorption exceeds the rate of its consumption in chloroplasts which results in damage to photosystem II. When photosystem II is damaged, photosynthesis can no longer be carried out effectively. Photoinhibition is triggered by plants because exposed to decreased in temperature. As stated before, Moringa oleifera is more prolific in tropical climates, but its ability to adapt to cooler temperatures by increasing mesophyll development allows for satisfactory growth in non-tropic areas. Because M. oleifera can tolerate less than optimal conditions through physiological adaptations, it is possible for more plants to be produced resulting in an increase of its usable benefits.

Check out the different interactions associated with Moringa oleifera!

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