Heartful Tree 4 You
Drawing - Artist Markers
The branches and twigs of a tree are spread out in such a way as to maximise the amount of light falling on the leaves. Tree are much taller than herbaceous or shrubby plants and ensuring the upper-most leaves are supplied with water originating in the root system requires that water is drawn up through the xylem from the roots by the suction produced as it evaporates from the leaves. If insufficient water is available, as may happen in times of drought, the leaves droop, and if this state continues they will die.
The leaves of trees come in a wide range of shapes and sizes which have evolved in response to environmental pressures including climate and predation. They can be broad or needle-like, simple or compound, lobed or entire, smooth or hairy, delicate or tough, deciduous or evergreen. The needles of coniferous trees are compact but are structurally similar to those of broad-leaved trees. They lose less water through transpiration and are adapted for life in environments where resources are low or water is scarce. Frozen ground may limit water availability and conifers are often found in colder places at higher altitudes and higher latitudes than broad leaved trees. In many cases, their branches hang down at an angle to the trunk which decreases the likelihood of them breaking when weighed down by snow. Where resources permit, the higher leaf nitrogen concentrations in broad-leaved species enables them to out-compete conifers. Broad leaved trees in temperate regions have a differentstrategy for dealing with winter weather. When the days get shorter and the temperature begins to decrease, the leaves no longer makes new chlorophyll and the red and yellow pigments already present in the blades become apparent. Synthesis in the leaf of a plant hormone called auxin also ceases. This causes the cells at the junction of the petiole and the twig to weaken and sooner or later the joint breaks and the leaf floats to the ground. In tropical and subtropical regions, many trees keep their leaves all year round. Individual leaves may fall intermittently and be replaced by new growth but most leaves remain intact for some time. Other tropical species and those in arid regions may shed all their leaves annually at a particular time of year. Often this will coincide with the onset of the dry season or some other climatic event. Many deciduous trees flower before the new leaves emerge.
November 21st, 2012
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