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PlantStudio Kurtz-Fernhout Software
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General parameters

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.

Growth curve

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.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif If you are creating a sunflower with only one head, you will set the parameter
General: Number of apical (terminal) inflorescences to one.
gif/plantstudio00090000.gif 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.

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Updated: March 10, 1999. Questions/comments on site to
Copyright © 1998, 1999 Paul D. Fernhout & Cynthia F. Kurtz.