Acquisition and Use
All vascular rooted plants acquire energy through a process called photo synthesis
which takes place in the leaves. Water and carbon dioxide react with sunlight to produce oxygen and glucose. The oxygen is usually release into the air, so what does the plant do to replace that empty space left when all the water and gas is gone? More water is sucked up through the roots and xylem (non-living, intercellular spaces) because of the pressure changes in the leaves, much like a straw, this is because water likes to travel from high water potential to low water potential.

After that glucose is made in mesophyll cells (as seen above) of the leaves. It is then transported back down to the rest of the plant through different, smaller straws, called phloem (living, inside the cells). Then the nutrients are transferred over to the plant cells for use. In order to keep this cycle flowing, sugars must continuously be drained off at the sinks (branches or any growing part requiring energy) while being replaced by new sugar from the origin (leaves or storage root).

Preservation of Energy
Autumn Crocus sends up its first leaves after all the snow is gone and the weather is warming up, using the nutrients in the ground that were being saved all winter, it then dies off in early summer, saving up energy and nutrients to grow its flower in the fall instead of burning energy through the summer as well. If this flower doesn't have leaves to photosynthesize with when it grows its flowers where does it get the strength to do anything? When the flower grows its leaves in the spring it stores up enough energy to grow the blooms later in the fall.

The plant can also have help getting its nutrition through endomycorrhizae, a symbiotic relationship with fungus. This relationship is mutualistic meaning that both organisms benefit from the other and neither are harmed. The fungus help by increasing the surface area of the roots through the formation hyphae (thin, threadlike cell). A grouping of these hyphae are called a mycelium.   While the fungi assist in supplying nutrients, the plant returns the favor by supplying the fungi with sugars from the photosynthesis.
To see a fungus that forms ectomycorrhizae, click here.

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