Crassula Dejecta

November 5, 2013

The second seed we chose is commonly known as doily crassula (Eng.) or klipblom (Afr.). Crassulas have an extraordinary metabolism that allows them to photosynthesize normally without losing much water through their leaves, known as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism or CAM. This gives them the ability to survive and thrive in dry regions or areas that experience recurring droughts. All plants need CO2 (carbon dioxide) for photosynthesis. Most plants take in CO2 during daylight hours through their stomata (pores in the leaves) and can’t avoid losing water at the same time through these open pores. In Crassula the stomata are closed during the day but open at night so that when they take in the CO2 they lose the least amount of water. The CO2 taken in at night is stored in the form of organic crassulacean acids. During the day, these acids are broken down and the CO2 is released and re-used in the photosynthetic process. In this way they lose much less water yet can photosynthesize normally during the daylight hours. Furthermore, during extremely dry periods they won’t even open their stomata at night, and will recycle the CO2 within the cells. They won’t be able

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to grow at all but the cells will be kept healthy-this is known as CAM-idling. Alice Notten Kirstenbosch NBG January 2008 Information Ref: Image Ref:

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