How Do Leaves Make Food?

Written by cindi pearce
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How Do Leaves Make Food?
Leaves make food with the help of the sun. (green plants image by McDanny from

Leaves make food via the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the act of making food from water, carbon dioxide, energy from the sun and nutrients. Plants are the only organisms in the natural world that make their own food. Photosynthesis occurs when light strikes the leaves of the plant. When a plant is undergoing photosynthesis, it releases oxygen into the air, which humans and animals need in order to breathe. Artificial light can jump-start this process.

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  1. 1

    Interaction between the sun and chlorophyll, which is a green pigment in the leaves of the plant, allows a plant to make food. Chlorophyll is essential to plants because when chlorophyll interacts with the sun, the water that is in the plant is split into basic components. Carbon dioxide enters the leaves through holes called stomata. It combines with the energy that is stored in the plant's leaf cells to produce sugar. Sugar is then sent through the leaf's tubes to the plant's roots, stem and fruit.

  2. 2

    Storing sugar is the way a plant creates energy and food. The sugar is stored as starch and becomes a complex substance, much like cellulose. Plants manufacture more food than they need, which is then stored in the parts of the plant. When we eat the plant, we derive the benefits of that stored food, explains Newtons Apple.

  3. 3

    Producing food occurs when it is warm outside. The chlorophyll that is present in the plant and its leaves during the spring and summer months hides other colours and pigments in the leaves, so the leaves appear green. However, these colours become apparent in the fall when there is less sunlight. If there is inadequate sunlight, plants cannot undergo photosynthesis and produce food. Leaves turn brown, red and gold and then die and fall off the plant.

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