#BotanistLens: Tranquil seeming exterior, but chilling chaos on the inside?

Recent freeze sure made for some serene moments to capture. All seemed quiet and tranquil outside, but is it the same inside? In some plants, it is pure chaos, with damage visible in the near future.


Here is some neat information about freezing weather and plants: https://caldwell.ces.ncsu.edu/.../freezing-weather-and.../.

"The damage happens when ice crystals form inside plant cells. Ice causes two major problems in plant cells. The individual ice crystals act as tiny pins, which poke thousands of holes into the delicate cell membrane. This is a problem because plant cells are highly organized. When ice crystals form, poking all those holes, it causes the highly compartmentalized stuff inside the cells to ooze out of the cells. This causes the cells to die, and if the entire plant is affected, the plant dies.


"The second problem is actually dehydration. As ice forms, it leaves less water available to dilute salts, sugars, and other “stuff” inside the plant cell. This increased concentration of salts can damage the cell structure and also cause plant cells to die. Some plants have adapted to the challenges of sharp ice crystals and cellular dehydration. These adaptations allow the plant to survive freezing conditions. However, not all plants can survive winter weather."


"Some plants produce a substance that protects the cell contents from freeze damage. Same mechanism that helps plants cope with freezing temperatures may also help with drought conditions too".


Plants have highly evolved mechanisms to cope stress, whether it is heat or cold. Those able to adapt, thrive!


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