Under heat and water stress, plants sacrifice their leaves to keep their sexual organs cool – a strategy that we could harness to protect crops from climate change
10 December 2021
In hot, dry weather, plants sacrifice their leaves to cool and protect flowers, which contain their sexual organs. The strategy could be harnessed to defend crop yields against climate change.
Plants lose nearly all the water they absorb through evaporation via pores known as stomata. This process, known as transpiration, cools the plant and helps them suck up more nutrient-filled water from the ground, like drinking through a straw.
When the weather is hot, the stomata open to release water and heat. But when …