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Blue Leaves of Begonia Help it Survive in Lower Forest Regions with Low Light
Blue Leaves of Peacock Begonia (or Begonia pavonina) help the plant to get additional light and survive in darker regions of the forest. The leaves of the plant with iridescent azure helps it adapt with lower level of sunlight in thick rain forests in Southeast Asia. The research paper published in journal Nature Plants informed that like chloroplasts, these structures provide the cellular machinery for photosynthesis.
The study was led by Heather Whitney from the University of Bristol. The study team noticed that the peacock begonias have typically dark green leaves but they appear iridescent azure at certain angles.
The Malaysian tropical plant Begonia pavonina can harvest more energy from low sunlight level compared to other plants with greener leaves.
Study author Whitney added, "It's actually quite brilliant. Plants have to cope with every obstacle that's thrown at them without running away. Here we see evidence of a plant that's actually evolved to physically manipulate the little light it receives. It's quite amazing, and was an absolutely surprising discovery."
The scientists couldn't simply use the native species found in the darkness of the Malaysian jungle, Whitney says.
A report published in Washington Post said, “When Whitney and her colleagues examined B. pavonina cells under a microscope, they noticed that the iridoplasts had a very strange shape. They were layered on top of one another, membrane upon membrane separated by a thin film of liquid, almost like a stack of pancakes held together with maple syrup.”