Air Temperature

Air temperature is the most important climatic variable that affects plant life. The growth of higher plants is restricted to a temperature between 0 and 60°C, and crop plants are further restricted to a narrower range of 10 to 40°C. However, each species and variety of plants and each age group of plants has its own upper and lower temperature limits. Beyond these limits, a plant becomes considerably damaged and may even be killed. It is therefore the amplitude of variations in temperature, rather than its mean value, that is more important to plant growth.

The midday high temperature increases the saturation deficit of plants. It accelerates photosynthesis and ripening of fruits. The maximum production

TABLE 3.1. Cardinal temperatures for the germination of some important crops


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