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Plant Growth Question

Wnash at sunquest.com Wnash at sunquest.com
Tue Jan 3 10:55:49 EST 1995

>   What is meant by the indeterminate growth pattern in plants?
>Well, you see, some plants have a genetic code that says "I'm only supposed 
to grow just so big and then I stop." That is what is called determinate plant 
because it's growth pattern terminates. There are thousands of examples of 
plants that have a determinate growth pattern, such as most grasses, the corymb 
of flowering carrots, or the spiking inflorescence of a foxglove plant, etc. 
Then there are those plants that do no have a genetic code that tells them to 
stop growing beyond a certain size, (length, height, or width) and these 
plants do not gentically terminate. Good examples of indeterminate growth 
plants are ivy, some vining tropical members of the violaceae familiy, in fact, 
most vines (not all) tend to be indeterminate because they just keep growing 
and climbing even after you've whacked them back. That's basically it. 

My favorite indeterminate plant is a creeping cactus native to the Sonoran 
Desert that looks like a tall cactus that has fallen over and is dying because 
one end is yellowish and dead. The other end, however, is relatively healthy 
and green. In this way the plant "creeps" along the desert floor; indeterminate 
in the direction it is traveling. 

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