Researchers explain why Begonias have blue leaves. We have all known that trees and plants have green leaves. But no biology class in school has ever taught us that there are plants with blue leaves. Many species of Begonia have glowing blue leaves. Begonias are very popular and are frequently kept as houseplants. They enhance the design of people’s home and are easy to take care of because they do not need direct sunlight.
- Scientists are analyzing begonia’s iridescent blue leaves.
- They have discovered that its photosynthesis is conducted with iridoplasts.
Many botanists have wondered why among one thousand and five hundred species of begonia there are some which unfold unusual blue leaves. The original habitat of this plant is the ground cover of the tropical rainforests. They grow under the foliage of trees, making it difficult for their leaves to be touched by the sunlight. A team of scientists at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom observed that begonia usually produce blue leaves only when they are placed in dark areas. The blue shininess of the leaves faded away when light reached the plant.
Dr. Heather Whitney, who led the study, has argued that her team discovered that the process of photosynthesis occurs in a different way for begonias. They do transform light into energy, but they use a particular kind of chloroplast compared to other plants which have green leaves.
Matt Jacobs, who is a Ph.D. student at the University’s School of Biological Sciences, asserted that after a thorough analysis of the leaves under the microscope, they have revealed that the glowing blue behaves almost mirror-like. Researchers have used electron microscopy to uncover the blue chloroplasts from the composition of begonias, called iridoplasts. This particular component of the leaves is responsible for the iridescent color.
The structure of the plant is very well proportioned, measuring one hundred nanometers thick. Dr. Heather Whitney’s team has paired together with the photonics researchers from the same university. They hoped that only together could acquire more detailed information about the spectacular plant.
Researchers have analyzed the fact that begonias tend to absorb green light and they diffuse the blue one. Usually, scientists claim that regular plants absorb blue and red light, reflecting green light. Thus they have green leaves. Begonias are unique, using the exact opposite process. For begonias, iriodoplasts develop a better photosynthesis process than chloroplasts typically work in regular plants.
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