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How it works
The parameters in the General section determine some major decisions about the plant's shape, biomass accumulation, and life cycle.
Random sway in drawing angles
This number determines how much angles on the plant vary -- specifically angles of leaves, flowers and branches in inflorescences, and
internodes (the angle between one internode and the next). If you want a plant
with precise angles, set this parameter to zero. Setting this parameter to 90
degrees will produce a plant with such bizarre angles that it probably will look
like a contortionist. Usually a value less than ten degrees will be about right.
Age at maturity
You can set this age at any number you want, but since there are many timing
parameters throughout the system (such as Internodes: Minimum days to grow) you will usually want to keep it at least above 35 days. Increasing the
maturity age to a high number can help you simulate second-year growth or simulate
a shrub. However, a plant with such a long life cycle will probably take a very
long time to draw and may not animate well. The best life-cycle length is
about 100 days.
The growth curve parameter is mentioned in the section on How a plant grows.
Age at which flowering starts
This parameter determines when the plant will switch all active meristems over
to reproductive mode and start creating inflorescences. If you want to see
flowers on your plant, make sure that this value is less than the Age at maturity value and that you've left enough time before the Age at maturity for the flowers (and fruits if you want them) to form.
Fraction of total plant biomass at maturity in reproductive structures
For most plants this value will be between 0.4 and 0.6. The value you choose
will depend on how you allocate biomass between the plant parts (by setting the Optimal final biomass parameters) and on timing parameters. Try changing it to see what affect it
has on the plant and on the Parts panel.
Plant has both male and female flowers
You will need to set this parameter to "yes" for very few plants. If this parameter is set to "no", you can ignore the entire Male Inflorescences and Male Flowers parameter sections (in fact, you can hide them using the popup menu that
appears over parameter sections). If separate male inflorescences and flowers are
turned off, flowers will have both male and female parts. The corn plant in the
file "Library of garden plants.pla" gives an example of creating a plant with separate male and female flowers.
Plant is dicotyledonous (has two seedling leaves)
As mentioned in our section on botanical strengths and limitations, PlantStudio simulates the differences between monocots (with one seedling
leaf) and dicots (with two seedling leaves) only superficially. If you answer
this parameter with a "yes", two seedling leaves will be drawn. If you answer this parameter with a "no", one seedling leaf will be drawn. That is the only difference between
monocots and dicots.
Number of apical (terminal) inflorescences, Number of axillary inflorescences
These two parameters place inflorescences on the plant. The number of
inflorescences is done with brute force here because probabilistic methods produce too
much variation. In reality the number of inflorescences on plants of a variety
does vary, but not much. You must choose a number to place on the plant based
on how many meristems of the correct type (apical or axillary) you expect to be
available. These examples will help.
If you are creating a sunflower with only one head, you will set the parameter General: Number of apical (terminal) inflorescences to one.
If you are creating an ornamental sunflower with multiple heads, each at the end of a stem, you will set the parameter General: Number of apical (terminal) inflorescences to (say) five. However, you will only see five heads on the sunflower if there are five apical meristems. To get five apical meristems you have to have enough branching to create that many. So you would set the parameter Meristems: Branching index to about 20-30%. By playing with these two parameters you can arrive at a situation that creates the number of inflorescences you want.
Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to email@example.com.
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.