Did you know that a plant never dies because of old age? Let's explore the physiology of trees to understand why.
Have you ever seen a plant or tree dying because of old age? Never, right? Plants are gifted with longevity. Instead of physically declining with age, as we do, plants avoid old age by preventing deterioration in their physiological functions. This means that younger plants are just as likely to die as older plants are.
BUT HOW DOES A PLANT MAINTAIN ITS LONGEVITY?
As a plant ages, its organs, such as leaves and flowers, do show signs of physical deterioration. Ageing is manifested by showing a reduction in the rate of photosynthesis, growth and production of flower buds.
A mature plant has a much larger girth. As it grows older, the overall growth in its size tends to get slower. But because of the largeness of the tree, this reduced growth is not visible to the human eye. In a human being, it is the body cells that form the tissues and organs that age as the person gets older. This is not visible in a plant.
Some studies have even shown that plants produce more flowers and seeds as they get older and bigger, and when a plant reaches its maximum size, its reproductive ability remains constant.
However, we do not see many old plants and trees because they usually succumb to outside influences. It has often been noticed that older plants die due natural calamities like storms, lightening strikes, floods, wildfires and pollution. Fewer older plants survive simply because the chances of being killed by an external factor increase with time.