Plant Functions

A large portion of calcium is in water-soluble forms within the plant. Leaves contain the greatest proportion of calcium. For example, the distribution of calcium in the corn plant is approximately 58 percent in leaves, 18 percent in stems, 20 percent in roots and 4 percent in grain and cob. Calcium content will vary with species and variety within a species.

Some generalized functions of calcium in plant growth are:

1. neutralizing oxalic and other acids;

2. as a structural component of cell walls;

3. essential in meristematic cells for normal cell division;

4. necessary for nitrate reduction; and

5. counteracts detrimental effects of an unbalanced supply of other ions.

The behavior of magnesium in the plant is similar to that of calcium. Some magnesium functions in the plant are:

1. binds together microsomal particles containing ribonucleic acid and proteins;

2. aids in protein synthesis;

3. is required for photosynthetic phosphorylation and transportation of phosphorus; and

4. is necessary for photosynthesis and becomes a part of the chlorophyll molecule.