When it comes to flowering plants, you’ll hear a number of different terms used to describe it including day neutral, short day plants, and long day plants. As living organisms, plants respond to their environment, such as deciduous trees changing colours and dropping their leaves in the fall.
Day neutral plants refer to plants that flower regardless of the amount of light it is exposed to. Some examples of day neutral plants include cucumbers and corn.
Short day plants refer to plants that flower when the amount of light it receives is shorter than a certain critical length, such as in the spring or fall. Some examples of short day plants are chrysanthemums.
Long day plants refer to plants that flower when the amount of light it receives is longer than a certain critical length, such as in the summer. Some examples of long day plants are spinach and lettuce.
These three definitions – day neutral, short day, and long day – are related to the photoperiodism, which is a physiological response to both periods of light and periods of darkness.
Cover Image by Andrew Davison, used under its Creative Commons license.