Show Details

Plant Budding

May 11, 2010

A change in temperature and day length signal plants to form buds in the spring.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):
How spring is sprung…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

The first signs of a new season prompted listener Todd Pangburn of St. Paul, Minnesota, to ask: With the coming of spring, how do plants decide when to form buds? We asked plant biologist Sue Rhee, a staff scientist at the Carnegie Institution in Stanford, California. She says a combination of the cold temperatures and shortened day length of winter tells a plant to get ready.

SUE RHEE (Carnegie Institution):
And then after the cold spell breaks as spring comes, the increase in temperature and increase in day length tell the plants to flower.

HIRSHON:
The process is called vernalization, and its molecular mechanism is now well understood. But Rhee says figuring out how plants evolved to do this is still a hot topic of research in plant biology. And if you’ve got a budding science question, call us at 1-800-WHY-ISIT. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the science society.