Leaves as Canvas, Light as Brush, Pigments as Paint

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