15.4.3.5 Abscisic acid

As mentioned earlier, abscisic acid (ABA) was discovered for its role in regulating abscission and dormancy. But like other PGRs, it also has other wide ranging effects on plant growth and development.

It acts as a general plant growth inhibitor and an inhibitor of plant metabolism. ABA inhibits seed germination. ABA stimulates the closure of stomata in the epidermis and increases the tolerance of plants to various kinds of stresses.

Therefore, it is also called the stress hormone. ABA plays an important role in seed development, maturation and dormancy. By inducing dormancy, ABA helps seeds to withstand desiccation and other factors unfavourable for growth.

In most situations, ABA acts as an antagonist to GAs. We may summarise that for any and every phase of growth, differentiation and development of plants, one or the other PGR has some role to play. Such roles could be complimentary or antagonistic. These could be individualistic or synergistic.

Similarly, there are a number of events in the life of a plant where more than one PGR interact to affect that event, e.g., dormancy in seeds/ buds, abscission, senescence, apical dominance, etc. Remember, the role of PGR is of only one kind of intrinsic control.

Along with genomic control and extrinsic factors, they play an important role in plant growth and development. Many of the extrinsic factors such as temperature and light, control plant growth and development via PGR.

Some of such events could be: vernalisation, flowering, dormancy, seed germination, plant movements, etc. We shall discuss briefly the role of light and temperature (both of them, the extrinsic factors) on initiation of flowering.

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