Asclepias syriaca



Like most other plants, Asclepias syriaca is autotrophic. This means it produces its own food, specifically by photosynthesis. This process requires carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, water taken up from the ground by the roots, and energy from sunlight. Chlorophyll is also necessary for photosynthesis. This is the pigment that plants have in their leaves that allow them to be photosynthetic and gives them their green color. The products of photosynthesis are oxygen and sugar (glucose). The excess glucose may be stored for energy in the form of starch. Glucose is also transported throughout the plant as sucrose, a different structure of sugar. This is briefly illustrated in the diagram included. Plants have specialized cells and structures in order to distribute these nutrients. To bring water and minerals up from the roots to the leaves, there is primary xylem. Primary phloem transports the sucrose from the leaves to the rest of the plant. Relative to the xylem, phloem is on the outside of the plant and xylem is in the middle. Primary xylem and phloem are separated by the procambium. Many specialized cells and tissues in plants are needed to aid in photosynthesis, transport of nutrients, and support.                                                

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