6.3  Developmental physiology

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Growth is an irreversible increase in plant size accompanied by a quantitative change in biomass. Development is more subtle and implies an additional qualitative change in plant form or function. Development thus lends ‘direction’ to growth and can apply equally well to a progressive change in gross morphology as to a subtle change in organ function, or to a major phase change from vegetative to reproductive development.

In all cases, resource utilisation and photoassimilate partitioning will be affected by growth and development with consequences for reproductive success in nature or utility in managed crops. Such outcomes are amenable to quantitative analysis.