Plant Physiology


Plants have a dependency on soil for water and mineral nutrients. These materials are stored via specific biological cycles. Xylem carries the absorbed water and minerals with a continuous pressure flow created due to water vapour loss in leaves. In the process of carrying nutrients, water appears as a potential carrier and plays a pivotal role in the transportation of nutrients in plants.

What is plant physiology?

Plant physiology refers to plant behaviour and function including the dynamic process of metabolism, growth, reproduction, communication, and defence to stay alive in the environment. Different plant organs, cells, and tissues are combined together to process major physical activities and due to this; the anatomy and physiology of plants have a close connection. Plant physiology contributes to the functional and structural properties of plants.

Physiology of different parts of a plant

Plants have five major parts whose characteristics and functions contribute to the plant’s physiology.


Roots are the Foundation organs of plants. The plant roots generally grow towards the ground and give them ample strength to stick to the ground. The absorption of water and minerals from the soil occurs by roots and the materials move to the stem for further processing.


The stem carries the flowers, fruits, leaves, and other parts of plants. Its movement is generally towards sunlight. The stem manages the entire structure of a plant. The stem helps transport minerals and water to the leaves through the xylem. The ready food reaches all parts of the plant body by phloem tissues.


Leaves prepare foods by the photosynthesis process with the presence of chlorophyll. The leaves have a greater contribution to the transpiration and respiration process.


These are plants’ reproductive organs. Flowers have a huge impact on plant physiology where every plant part plays an independent role.


In seed plants, fruits have a significant role in carrying genetic features. The fertilization of the matured ovary and pollen grain leads to the creation of seeds.

Different functions of plants

Plants are capable of having a unique vascular system that assists the plant to extract all the necessary nutrients from their root and distribute them evenly within the plant body. This process in terms of plants is mostly multidirectional or unidirectional which enables the plants to create diffusion within the body and carry all the necessary nutrients evenly to the different parts of the body.

Another crucial function played by a plant appears in the case of carrying minerals and nutrition to the different parts of the plant body. They use the existing micro and macro nutrients for the nutrition process within a plant body and maintain an adequate supply of mineral nutrients within the plant body.

Respiration and photosynthesis in plants

In the whole life process of a plant, food is very important. As the most important outcome of the photosynthesis process, food is generated in a plant. Energy is released in the cellular respiration process which is actively used in the synthesizing process of ATP. Glycolysis is attached and involved in this process.

In completing a whole oxidation process, a plant requires an aerobic respiration process. In most of the higher organisms, this process is undertaken in the presence of oxygen. The most important aspect of a respiration process is the effective respiratory quotient.

In plants, photosynthesis takes place and therefore it is known to be autotrophs. Earth’s almost all living entities are dependent on food and plants' photosynthesis process is an important part of this. A set of chemical reactions are found to be incorporated within this process. Electron transporting system and oxidative phosphorylation is the two most important processes, undertaken by a plant.

Development and growth of a plant

In ensuring continuous and proper development of a plant, the surrounding environment needs to be suitable. A sustainable temperature is necessary for the proper growth of plants. Some parameters are there with which the growth rate of a plant can be measured. Such parameters are cell numbers, dry weight, length, volume, area, and increasing fresh weight.

The whole growth duration of a plant is divided into three important phases. These are meristematic, elongation and maturation. Some growth regulators are there who play an important role in controlling the overall growth of a plant.


In the whole life process of a plant, phytochromes is produced. The nature of this compound is sensitive to light and each different environmental signal is important as it stimulates the overall growth of plants. The range of carbon dioxide is important as it is required in the respiration process of a plant

The extraction process of important oxidizable substances is an important part of plant physiology. A compact idea about Plant Physiology can be helpful in depicting the overall concept of a plant’s whole life cycle process.


Q1. What are the most important types of plant physiology?

Ans: In understanding the importance of plant physiology in the aspect of biology, its types are needed to be identified first. There are main two important sub-disciplines those are integrally associated with plant physiology. These are phytopathology and phytochemistry.

Q2. Who is considered ‘the father of plant physiology’?

Ans: The contribution of Julius Sachs in the field of physiology is one of the most relevant and significant ones. Therefore, in respecting this person’s efforts and contribution, Julius Sachs is known to be ‘the father of plant physiology’.

Q3. What is the significance of plant physiology?

Ans: In understanding the relevance of plant physiology, the functions of different parts of a plant and its structural components are very important. An in-depth analysis of photosynthesis, respiration, and most importantly the mineral nutrition related plant functions can be analyzed based on the explanation of plant physiology.

Updated on: 20-Feb-2023


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