Discarded limbs, scattered petals, seeds and fruits thrown to the ground - abscission!
Abscission is the intentional shedding of body parts. Some lizards do it with their tails, we do it with our teeth, and mushrooms do it to their spores. All plants use abscission as a normal part of their lifecycle, but for different reasons and in different ways.
Anatomy of abscission
The area where abscission occurs is called the separation zone, or the abscission zone. When abscission occurs, enzymes are released that breakdown the structural cellulose and the adhesive pectin within cells in the abscission zone. The timing and methods of abscission depend on the reasons behind the action.
Forms of abscission
There are four basic forms of abscission:
The abscission process
When a plant decides to get rid of a body part [How weird would that be for us? I guess it’s like having a tooth pulled. Yikes!] Anyway, the plant goes through three steps to get rid of unwanted parts: remobilization, protection, and then detachment. During remobilization, resources are pulled from the unwanted part to be used elsewhere. Then, because gaping holes aren’t good for anyone, plants use cork to seal off soon-to-be exposed areas. Detachment can occur in several ways:
Leaf, fruit, and blossom drop are not uncommon, and there are several causes that trigger detachment:
If your plants are losing body parts, see if you can use this information to determine the cause!
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!