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Photosynthesis and plant adaptations

Photosynthesis and plant adaptations

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Photosynthesis and plant adaptations

In a nutshell

Plants use chlorophyll in their leaves to convert carbon dioxide and water into oxygen and glucose that they can use for growth. Leaves have adaptations, such as stomata, that make them better suited to carry out photosynthesis.



Photosynthesis is a chemical process that takes place in plants to produce food in the form of glucose. It takes place in the green parts of the plant in small structures called chloroplasts. Chloroplasts contain a green pigment called chlorophyll which absorbs the sunlight that is needed for photosynthesis. 

carbon dioxide+waterchlorophylllightglucose+oxygencarbon\ dioxide + water\xrightarrow[chlorophyll]{light}glucose + oxygen​​

Photosynthesis also requires carbon dioxide which diffuses from the air into the leaves through the stomata. The plants get the water they need from the soil through their roots. 

The oxygen that is produced is released into the air through the stomata in the leaves. The glucose molecules can be used for energy when they are broken down in respiration. 


Stomata are small holes found on the underside of the leaf that allow carbon dioxide to diffuse into the leaf from the air and also allows oxygen to diffuse out of the leaf. They are able to open and close to control this gas exchange.


Plants are adapted to carry out photosynthesis. Some of these adaptations are explained below.



Broad leaves
Increases the surface area for the plant to absorb sunlight.
Thin leaves
Shortens the distance the gases must travel.
Stomata (plural) 
Stoma (singular)
Small holes on the underside of the leaf that allows gases to diffuse in and out of the leaf.
Lots of chloroplasts
Leaves have a lot of chloroplasts located at the top of the leaf so they can absorb as much sunlight as possible to power photosynthesis.
Vein network
Plants have veins that deliver water to the leaf cells and take away the glucose that is produced during photosynthesis.

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

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