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Can plants grow without photosynthesis?
Question Date: 2013-05-03
Answer 1:

Great to hear that you're interested in learning more about plants! They do some crazy things and grow in areas where we could never survive. Plants that don't require sunlight have two alternative strategies that they employ:

1st are parasitic plants. These guys have evolved to suck nutrients and water from other plants without the necessity for photosynthesis. While some parasitic plants photosynthesize (like mistletoe), there are others that purely sap the life out of other plants. A cool one is Dodder or Witches Hair

This plant uses a small structure called haustoria to puncture other plants and use their energy to survive.

2nd are saprophytic plants. These plants feed on decomposing organic material in the soil and gain enough energy from this material that they don't need to photosynthesize. The organic matter they utilize is often fungi in the soil. Examples are coral root orchids
corallorhiza maculata.

These two strategies could have evolved for any number of reasons. Plants are very good at adapting to different environments and finding energy when they need it.

Answer 2:

Apart from a small number of parasitic plants, no, plants cannot grow without photosynthesis, they require photosynthesis to grow.

Answer 3:

No, plants cannot grow without photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is needed to make chemical products to make energy for the plant. The energy is then used to grow the plant. If a plant doesn't have photosynthesis, it doesn't grow, and will die. That being said, plants don't always need as much light as we would think.

Answer 4:

Just like how humans need energy, protein, and nutrients to grow, so do plants. So no, plants need photosynthesis to grow. Photosynthesis is a process where light energy from the sun is converted to chemical energy that is stored in bond of sugar. They use this sugar to grow of course!

Plants need the sun, nutrients from the soil, and water to be healthy, grow, and survive, but without the sun (and photosynthesis), plants can still survive to an extent.

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