Photosynthesis provides a plant with a means of producing its own food from water, carbon dioxide, light and minerals. This process occurs in the chloroplasts, located in the green portions of the plant, including the leaves. The structure of the leaf aides in photosynthesis by helping the plant to acquire all of the required materials to manufacture its own food.
External Leaf Shape
Leaves best suited for photosynthesis have wide, flat green areas to allow for maximum exposure to light. Thin leaves allow for efficient transfer of carbon dioxide to the chloroplasts inside the leaves, which the plant uses with light to create food. Oxygen released as waste from photosynthesis rises to the surface best in a thin leaf and dissipates better from leaves with a large surface area of the leaves. The veins of the leaves carry water and mineral nutrients absorbed through the plant's roots throughout the leaves. This action provides the other requirements for photosynthesis not acquired by the leaves.
Internal Leaf Structure
In green plants, photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplasts. These reside inside the mesophyll cells sandwiched by a top and bottom protective layer of epidermis. The location of the mesophyll in the middle of the leaves allow them to get the sit in the path of carbon dioxide taken in by the leaf and give them an exit path for the wasted oxygen.
- Photo Credit Formulax/wikicommons.org, Minzinho/wikicommons.org, H McKenna/wikicommons.org
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