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Do Your Houseplants Have Jet Lag?

Scientists have discovered that plants, like animals, have a 24-hour biological clock. Just as our body clock tells us to wake up, plants have clocks that tell them to prepare for the sun. Plant clocks are set to go off around the same time every morning, usually just a few hours before noon. This tells them to prepare for intense sunlight, triggering photosynthesis, the process that help plants make food.

The clock controls an enzyme that modifies a protein called D1, which is needed for photosynthesis. Plant physiologist Autar K. Mattoo says, "[Plants] cannot run away. Their roots are stuck in the soil, so they have devised and perfected processes that allow them to survive in the harshest extreme environments." If the exposed to too much ultraviolet radiation, "plants produce molecules called flavonoids, which act as the sunscreen," Mattoo says.

Plant clocks shut off when the sun goes down. But you can set their biological clocks artificially. Mattoo says if you "?put the plants into artificial light, they remember this clock."

If plants are brought to the U.S. from tropical climates, as most houseplants are, do they get jetlag if they can't reset their biological clocks? This may be the reason so many of us experience failure as indoor gardeners.

It's almost crop circle season in England?are these circles manmade or made by?someone else? Colin Andrews says both explanations are true! Don?t miss his interview on Dreamland.

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