To most us earthlings we almost always associate the colour green with fresh and healthy – the thought of black plants and foliage seems almost impossible to us, since the sight of a black plant would usually look like it’s on its last legs.... a couple of months of forgetting to water that poor plant on the window sill (I’m sure we’ve all been there). However an astrobiologist at St Andrews University has suggested that plants on distant planets may have developed black foliage and flowers to survive.
As most people know, plants need light to be able to photosynthesise and grow – so the question is “how can plants grow without enough light?”
The answer would appear to be, that in order for plants to develop on these planets they need to adapt to very different light conditions available to them, and that is why it is possible for some plants to be black or grey to our eyes apparently.
But why the different colours? The temperature of a star determines its colour and, hence, the colour of light used for photosynthesis. Plants change colour to absorb the rays of the light source available to them. On some planets, where light may come from distant red dwarfs and a closer light source, there may be plants developing into different colours to adapt to both light sources.
And that’s it for today’s intergalactic blog post. Please write in if you have any opinions on this or any other worldly plant matters.