- from Light
Animals collect light to see, but plants collect light for a very different reason. They make food for themselves with light, in a process called photosynthesis.
Photo means “light,” and synthesis (SIN-thuh-sis) means “to put together.” To make food, a plant puts together light, a green pigment called chlorophyll, carbon dioxide, and nutrients.
In almost all plants, the job of collecting light is one for the leaves. Look at a leaf, and you can tell what kind of light the plant lives in—low, medium, or bright. Leaves that live mostly in shade are built to collect more light or to make good use of what little light they receive. In a sunny area, leaves have a different challenge: heat. They have no problem collecting all the light they need, but they have to stay cool in the hot sun.