Forcing Plant Bulbs
Grade Level: 2nd - 6th; Type: Life Sciences
- The project is about learning how temperature creates annual rhythms that govern plant growth.
- The goals are to familiarize the students with annual rhythms and distinguish them from circadian rhythms.
- What is an annual rhythm? What is a circadian rhythm?
- What types of plant behavior is annual? What type is circadian?
- Can natural plant behaviors be changed through artificial means?
- Why is “wintering over” necessary for some plants and not necessary for others?
Everyone is familiar with the seasonality of plant growth. New shoots pop out of the ground in the spring, vegetables grow in the summer, leaves change color in the fall and growth slows in the winter. Some of these events, like leaves changing color, are controlled by the light and the length of the day. Other growth, such as germination of some bulbs, is governed by temperature. Many bulbs require a “wintering-over” period of cold temperatures that can be emulated in the freezer. This wintering-over is not required for all bulbs. Some bulbs, particularly those like amaryllis that are native to tropical areas, do not require wintering over.
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