Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - December 07, 2011

From: South Korea, Korea
Region: Other
Topic: General Botany, Non-Natives
Title: Consumption of carbon dioxide from South Korea
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am curious about what flowers consume CO2 for growing (especially 1-year life flower). Thanks.

ANSWER:

Before we answer your question, there are a couple of things we need to explain to you. The first is that The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, where Mr. Smarty Plants lives, is committed to the growth, propagation and protection of plants native to North America. The second thing is that what you refer to as a "one-year life flower" is called an annual. That is, the plant grows from seed, matures, blooms, makes and drops seeds and then dies, all within a year. Probably more will come up the next year, but they will be emerging from seeds they have dropped or other plants around them.

Now we can answer your question without making a list or giving you information on plants that would not grow where you are. Let's consider photosynthesis. From a previous Mr. Smarty Plants answer: "When sunlight strikes a leaf, a process called photosynthesis is put into play, the plant converts the energy from the sun, combines it with water and nutrients in the plant, and metabolizes it into food to support the plant, form new structures within the plant, and store food in the roots. Along the way, it releases oxygen, which is a good thing for the human race. The plant uses carbon dioxide, not good for breathing in the process, and releases much needed oxygen as a waste product!" How cool is that? From sunlight and photosynthesis the whole food chain of Nature is begun. This happens in native plants, alien plants and invasive plants. It's hard to call a plant useless. It may be irritating, poisonous, ugly, intrusive, but it is still feeding all the lifeforms on Earth and providing oxygen."

Another discussion of plants' use of carbon dioxide comes from The University of Massachusetts The Origin of the Organic Soup (which read) from which we have extracted this paragraph:

"Photosynthesis evolved over three billion years ago, shortly after the appearance of the first living organisms. The food we eat and the oxygen we breathe are both formed by plants (including algae) through photosynthesis. The power to drive this reaction comes from sunlight absorbed by chlorophyll in the chloroplasts of plants. At the present time, no known chemical system can be made to serve as a substitute for this process. It has been calculated that each CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is incorporated into a plant structure every 200 years and that all the O2 in air is renewed by plants every 2000 years. All life depends directly or indirectly on the sun's energy, and only plants are capable of capturing and converting this energy into chemical energy in the form of sugar and other organic compounds. Thus, if plants should suddenly disappear from the earth, so would we."

One more article, this one from e-How, Do Non-Vascular Plants Use Photosynthesis? The answer to that question is yes. So, in answer to your question, look around you. Any plant you see, flowering or not, tree, shrub, fern or algae, consumes carbon dioxide, all the time, everywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

More General Botany Questions

Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
June 09, 2013 - We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
view the full question and answer

Strange form of Dasylirion sp. (sotol)
December 27, 2008 - Mr. Smarty: I have a client with a huge (2 ft. diameter trunk), multi-headed dasylirion. On one or more of the heads, the leaves arch inward instead of outward. Someone said this is because of an inju...
view the full question and answer

Native plants as accumulators of heavy metals in Texas
March 29, 2008 - I would like to know of any native plants that could be used as hyperaccumulaters of heavy metals in Texas.
view the full question and answer

Effectiveness of house plants for removing household air pollution
January 30, 2006 - I have heard that there is a combination of house plants that will increase the oxgyen in your home. Could you please tell me the names of these plants? I think there are a group of four of them. ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants on temperature
October 18, 2005 - Mr.Smarty Plants, I am a student at Hill Freedman Middle school and I have a science fair coming up. I really need a answer to this question "What effect does temperature have on the growth of plants...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.