PLANT FLOWERS! – The future world would be a more beautiful place if we all planted more flowers. In fact, the world is a cooler, wetter place right now because of flowering plants, so they are an important weapon against climate change. For most of biological history there were no flowering plants: They evolved about 120 million years ago, and took another 20 million years to become common. Dinosaurs walked the Earth when flowering plants evolved, and various studies have attempted to link dinosaur evolution to the evolution of flowers.
Biologist C. Kevin Boyce says, “The vein density of leaves within the flowering plants is much, much higher than all other plants. That actually matters physiologically for both taking in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere for photosynthesis and also the loss of water. The two necessarily go together: You can’t take in CO2 without losing water.” This process is known as transpiration, and the higher vein density in the leaves of flowering plants means that flowering plants are highly efficient at sending water from the soil back into the sky, where it can return to Earth as rain.
The effect is especially pronounced in rainforests, where replacing flowering plants with non-flowering varieties would result in an 80% decrease in the area covered by ever-wet rainforest. “Rainforest deforestation has long been shown to have a somewhat similar effect,” Boyce says. Transpiration drops along with loss of rainforest, “and you actually lose rainfall because of it,” meaning there may be even more drought in our future.
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