Last updated: November 17, 2021

What Does Abscission Mean?

In botany, abscission refers to the intentional shedding away of the seed, flower, fruit, or leaf of a plant. In some cases, abscission can help liberate the fungal spore.

This process is particularly common in autumn, during which trees shed leaves that are no longer beneficial. Flowers may also engage in abscission for reproduction or fertilization.


Maximum Yield Explains Abscission

Deciduous plants abscise their leaves before the winter. For their parts, evergreen plants always shed their leaves. A common form of abscission is to drop immature fruit to help the plant conserve resources. This facilitates the ripening of existing fruits. In some cases, damaged leaves are also abscised to help the plant conserve photosynthetic efficiency and water.

Abscission usually occurs in three steps: the resorption, the formation of the protective layer, and finally the detachment. During the resorption process, chlorophyll is degraded to extract most of the plant’s nutrients. When detachment occurs, the plant cells located at the abscission site will absorb large quantities of water before bursting. This encourages the leaves or other organs to fall off.


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