Plant Structure, Function, and Use

Plant Responses to Stimuli

What is the difference between short-day and long-day plants?

Short-day and long-day plants exhibit a response to the changes in light and dark in a twenty-four-hour cycle (photoperiodism). Short-day plants form flowers when the days become shorter than a critical length; they bloom in late summer or autumn in middle latitudes. For example, chrysanthemums, goldenrods, poinsettias, soybeans, and ragweed are short-day plants. Long-day plants form flowers when the days become longer than a certain, critical length; they bloom in spring and early summer. For example, clover, irises, and hollyhocks are long-day plants. These two responses are also why florists and plant growers at commercial nurseries can adjust the amount of light a plant receives—and force it to bloom out of season.


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