Plants produce their own food in order to survive and grow. Plants use chlorophyll, sunlight, carbon dioxide, water and minerals in order to make food.
The process by which plants turn carbon dioxide, sunlight and water into glucose is photosynthesis. Photosynthesis occurs in the leaves of the plant. Chlorophyll, a green pigment in the leaves, helps the plant absorb sunlight. Meanwhile the roots pull water and nutrients from the soil and send it to the leaves through tissues called xylem. The undersides of the leaves have tiny pores called stomata through which the plant breathes in carbon dioxide.
Once the water, carbon dioxide and sunlight reach the leaves, a chemical reaction results. The sunlight powers the process of photosynthesis, splitting the water molecules into their components of hydrogen and oxygen. The by-products of this reaction are glucose, which is a type of sugar, and oxygen. The plant uses the sugars for food, sending them throughout the rest of the plant via the tissue phloem. The oxygen is excreted from the plant, which is then distributed throughout the atmosphere. The oxygen allows animals, including humans, to breathe. The plants also provides food for consumers of all types, including animals, birds and insects.