Rocks and stones, at first glance so strong and indestructible, in fact are destroyed under the influence of temperature, water, the life of microorganisms. Plants have a huge influence on the destruction of stones. They literally feed on minerals and rocks.
How plants destroy stones
Plants need food for normal growth. They easily and with pleasure assimilate solutions of various nutrients, which easily penetrate through the membranes of plant cells into the roots. But it would be a mistake to think that plants feed only on solutions. A huge amount of nutrients needed by plants are also found in minerals.
If the plants fed only on solutions, they were easily washed out of the soil and made it scarce. The constituent parts of minerals and rocks, in turn, decompose, make the soil noble. Plants have acidic cell sap. In the process of respiration, the roots of plants release carbonic acid, thereby corroding hard minerals and rocks, breaking them into small pieces and even turning them into dust. This allows the plant kingdom to receive the nutrition it needs.
The process of destruction of a stone by a plant can be seen with the naked eye. The roots entwine the stone so tightly and tightly that it seems impossible to untangle. The plant will "bite" its roots into the solid rock even more, if it does not find nearby other food - soluble, easily assimilated substances. Under the action of carbonic acid released by the roots, first small cracks appear on the surface of the stone, then deeper ones, and the solid rock is destroyed.
How plant roots seek food for themselves
If you carry out an experiment at home, you can make sure that the roots of plants in search of "food" eat up the stone. A plant was transplanted into a pot with scanty soil - sand. Before that, a marble plate was placed on the bottom of the pot. After four months, the pot was turned over and the plate was removed. All the marble entwined with the roots of the plant has lost its smoothness. The roots literally dug small passages in it. This can be seen especially clearly if white marble is rubbed with charcoal, and black marble - with chalk. The sparse sandy soil made the plant "starve", since there are no solutions in the sand to feed its cells. In order not to die, the representative of the flora got food from the stone. In this case, the food of the plant he was hunting is the lime contained in the marble.
By destroying stones, rocks, minerals, plants make the soil richer. They play a huge, very important role in soil formation. Ultimately, the soil is a product of the destruction of hard rocks mixed with decayed rotten leaves.