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How long do plants live

How long do plants live


GUIDE TO KNOWLEDGE AND CARE OF PLANTS

HOW LONG THE PLANTS LIVE

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To know how long plants live, we must first distinguish the different categories of plants, in fact we have:

  • seasonal plants, i.e. plants whose duration depends on the changing of the seasons (eg. Lobelia);
  • plants that bloom and then bear fruit only once in their life and then die (technically they are called monocarpic plants) this is because fruiting (and therefore the production of seeds) involves such an immoderate use of the plant's resources that the formation of flowers and therefore of fruits is like a death sentence. We therefore have:
    • plants that are born in spring and die in summer after having fruited (eg. Tropaeolum);
    • plants that live vegetatively one year and reproduce the following year and then die (eg onion);
    • plants that can live vegetatively for many years until they bloom and then die (eg agave that blooms after about 10-30 years and then dies).
  • plants that bear fruit several times during their life (polycarpic plants) and also live very long:
    • rhododendrons can live up to 88 years;
    • the blueberry lives about 25 years;
    • juniper, roses, ivy about 300-400 years;
    • the magnolia about 100 years old;
    • the vine about 130 years.


Note 1

The plants that bear fruit many times during their life and that live a long time, are the ones that make us reflect the most. In fact, we see how a tree gets bigger and bigger every year, its stem gets bigger, new branches and new leaves are continually born. All this leads us to think that the plant lives forever unless some accident puts an end to its venerable life. In reality, however, this is not the case.

Each individual, regardless of size, is made up of living cells and dead cells and generally the latter are also the most numerous. It seems strange yet the vessels that serve for the transport of water and mineral salts, the fibers, the cells of the cortex, etc. they are all dead cells and the older and bigger a tree is, the more it is only the outermost parts of the trunk and branches that function while the innermost parts are dead. The leaves also have a relatively short lifespan, one or two years, so that life goes on only thanks to a few apical tissues and bills that is to say to a few tissues that are found on top of the plant (which determine its growth in height) and in the outermost part of the stem and branches (which determine its growth in width). But then, how are things? So a plant can live forever since as it grows, even if it is true that the innermost tissues die, the outermost ones are always replaced by new ones and therefore grows continuously? Let's try to understand better: a young plant in the first years of its life grows a lot in height and width. As the years go by, however, the growth becomes slower and slower, the leaves are fewer and fewer, some branches begin to dry up, the tree is attacked more easily by parasites and eventually dies ... We ask ourselves then: but what it happened? However, if we try to take the terminal part of the stem or branches and put it to root, a new plant will be born vigorously.

Yet, the donor plant dies while the young grows vigorously ... And they are the same plant! How do we explain it?

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