The relationship between light and plants extends far beyond photosynthesis. Light provides information to plant cells that guides their shape, size, and function. It has been known for a long time that specific wavelengths (colors) of light can stimulate the production of the purple pigments in plants. Other wavelengths can actually make them go away.
In the Veg-A-Sketch project at the University of Florida we have identified plants that perform well in response to pigment accumulation. We then apply a stencil to the leaves, provide light treatments– producing patterns that decorate the leaves.
This simple demonstration provides a basic method to illustrate principles of how light affects plant traits. It also has important human interest and potential commercial applications.
We will be distributing Veg-A-Sketch kits to schools in 2017, so please check back here soon to learn more.
This concept was developed by Kevin Folta’s lab at the University of Florida