Gibberellins in Plants: Definition & Function

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  • 0:00 What Are Gibberellins?
  • 0:25 Function of Gibberellins
  • 2:00 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Plants have hormones just like humans. Many plant hormones regulate growth and development. In this lesson, we will learn about hormones known as Gibberellins.

What Are Gibberellins?

Gibberellins are a group of plant hormones responsible for growth and development. Chemically speaking, gibberellins are actually acids. They are produced in the plant cell's plastids, or the double membrane-bound organelles responsible for making food, and are eventually transferred to the endoplasmic reticulum of the cell, where they are modified and prepared for use.

Function of Gibberellins

Gibberellins are growth hormones that stimulate cell elongation and cause plants to grow taller. Gibberellins also have a role in other plant processes, such as stem elongation, germination, flowering, and fruit ripening. In humans, the pituitary gland secretes the human growth hormone at appropriate times; the plastids of a plant secrete gibberellin in a similar fashion.

Once a plant releases gibberellins, its cells begin a process of elongation. Since plants are composed of single cells stacked on top of one another, this elongation of thousands of individual cells results in the overall growth of the plant.

From this information, you might deduce that gibberellins are extremely significant in the greenhouse and florist industry throughout the world. Many dwarf plants that are used in landscaping are short because the plant either cannot produce gibberellins, or its cells are not receptive to the hormone. Dwarf trees, like the bonsai seen here, have highly reduced amounts of gibberellin.

Farmers have learned that gibberellins stimulate bud and fruit formation on plants and have used this to their benefit. They apply synthetic gibberellins to the plants to increase fruit production.

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