Technically when plants “breathe” the process is actually called “respiration.”
All living things get the energy they need to live from chemical reactions which require things like oxygen and carbon dioxide. While humans take in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, plants also have the ability to take in oxygen and put out carbon dioxide through photosynthesis.
During the day, plants take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen.
“But the production of carbon dioxide is less than the production of oxygen,” said Anson. “So we can breathe the oxygen from trees and plants.”
But at night, the opposite occurs; plants take in carbon dioxide and put out oxygen.
This process usually results in a net food gain for the plant, in the form of glucose. This helps the plant grow.
Plants that lost their leaves in the fall and winter also have the ability to store food over to last them through the winter, until their leaves, which are critical to the photosynthesis process, return.
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