HPP-20306 Physiology and Development of Plants in Horticulture


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work2
Excursion (one day)8
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. LFM Marcelis
TN Kerstens
ing. J Oosterkamp
Lecturer(s)ME Kaiser
dr. ir. E Heuvelink
SH van Delden
prof. dr. ir. LFM Marcelis
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. LFM Marcelis

Language of instruction:


Mandatory knowledge:

ZSS06100 Laboratory Safety

Assumed knowledge on:

HPP-21306 Crop Ecology or HPP-22803 Concepts in Environmental Plant Physiology.

Continuation courses:

MSc spec. Greenhouse Horticulture in MPS-Plant Sciences


Protected horticulture depends on modifying the physical environment of an enclosed space so as to improve the growth and quality of plants. The course comprises advanced plant physiology and developmental biology described in relation to the production of plants, cut flowers, fruits, etc. under protected cultivation. The physiological content emphasizes plant responses to the environment, such as photosynthesis, temperature stress, water relations etc. The developmental content deals with plant propagation techniques, flower induction and development, plant morphological control etc.

Learning outcomes:

This course is focused on the physical principles underlying the environmental modification in an enclosed space, and why, in terms of plant environmental physiology and developmental biology, it is necessary. After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:

- summarise the economic and cultural factors and practices that distinguish horticulture from other forms of agriculture;

- explain the basic physical properties of greenhouses with respect to energy exchange with the external environment and with enclosed objects (eg plants), especially the radiative and latent heat fluxes, and explain the consequences for the ambient temperature in greenhouses;

- name the basic requirements and properties of rooting substrates and summarise the importance of plant mineral nutrition;

- describe the properties of black-bodies and explain the consequences this has for radiative energy exchange between plants and their environment;

- describe the basic principles of plant thermal biology;

- use the origins and meaning of water potential in plants and their environment, the soil-plant-air continuum, and the flux of water through plants and its control by stomata and atmospheric water vapour concentration;

- describe the physiological and non-physiological determinants of leaf energy balance and explain their role in the modulation of plant temperature;

- use the basic principles of photosynthetic energy transduction to explain the control of greenhouse lighting;

- use knowledge about the physiology of photosynthetic gas exchange (CO2 fixation and water evaporation) to explain control of photosynthesis by environmental management of the glasshouse;

- summarise chlorophyll fluorescence, its physiology, and its application in phytomonitoring;

- summarise the principles of plant development and flowering and outline practical applications in production control using these principles;

- summarise the physiology of periodic developmental phenomena in plants and explain how this can be used in control and manipulation in protected systems;

- explain the consequences of the presence of periodic phenomena in control of production;

- explain the foundations of vegetative propagation, the role of developmental processes in vegetative propagation and their application in practice;

- explain the principles and practice of micro-propagation.


- lectures;

- self study;

- practicals;

- excursion.


- 25% of final mark is derived from the mark of the practical reports;

- 75% of final mark is obtained from a written examination.


Atwell (ed.) 2001. Plants in Action, MacMillan Publ. Australia.

Free available at: http://plantsinaction.science.uq.edu.au/edition1/

Compulsory for: BPWPlant SciencesBScB: Spec. B - Plant Production and Ecology1MO
Restricted Optional for: MPSPlant SciencesMScB: Spec. B - Greenhouse Horticulture1MO
Compulsory for: WUCCPBSc Minor Concepts in Crop Production1MO