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Plant size and reproductive cycles

August 17, 2016

In the current model of plant life, plants must reach a genetically encoded height in order to reproduce. Once sexually mature, plants produce S seeds every time they have the required seed nutrient endowment N times the seed count S stored.

Some plants continue to grow continually, think of Redwood forest, and some plants like ferns stop growing. Whether they are genetically encoded to stop growing or the soil nutrients restrict growth is another story.

If we were to introduce a required reproductive cool down, plants who have the required nutrients to seed but are growing their seeds would instead spend their nutrients growing larger and taller. Fertile ground and small seed endowments with low reproductive would be selected for over longer reproductive cycles, as height confers no intrinsic reproductive benefit. If we were to tie the maximum nutrient storage to height however, larger plants would more easily resist droughts of rainfall or soil nutrients, creating a slow pressure for plants to grow taller.

My hunch is that live fast die young plants will die in droves at times of drought, however the slower growing taller trees would not be able to take over fast enough before the die fast plants are able to recuperate and reconquer.

Slowly, the taller plants would be able to take over for the ability to resist environmental pressures. The early stages of plant development would select for live fast plants, giving way to evergreen forests.

Neat.

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From → Plant Evolution

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