Did you know that green plants make their own food? They have tiny “food factories”
located right in their leaves.
How do green plants produce, or make food? It begins
as green plants trap light energy from the sun in their
leaves. A green pigment called chlorophyll collects the
light energy and stores it. While the sunlight is being
stored in the plant’s leaves, the plant’s roots are taking
in water and nutrients. Meanwhile, while the leaves are
collecting light energy and the roots are taking in water
and nutrients, tiny holes on the undersides of the leaves are taking in a gas called
carbon dioxide.
The chlorophyll then mixes the stored light
energy, the water, the nutrients, and the
carbon dioxide. It changes it into food for the
plant. The food produced by the plant is
called glucose. Glucose is a form of sugar.
Meanwhile, oxygen is also being produced
and released into the atmosphere. This
process of combining light energy, water,
nutrients, and carbon dioxide to make plant
sugars is called photosynthesis. This name
is perfect because the prefix photo- means
“light” and synthesis means “joining
As the summer days grow shorter and the cooler days
of fall and winter arrive, the chlorophyll, or green
pigment, located in the plant’s leaves begins to change.
Instead of storing light energy like it did all spring and
summer, the chlorophyll breaks down.
As this
happens, leaves die, turn colors, and drop off. The
plant goes dormant, or becomes inactive without the
food producing leaves. However, the plant is only in a
kind of suspended life, or dormancy brought on by
changes in its environment. The plant is preparing for
its new period of growth in the spring.