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The effect of Gibberellins on normal and dwarf Pisum sativum (Garden Peas)

Kader, Tarik

Introduction: The species of pea plant used in this experiment is Pisum sativum, referred
to as the common garden pea. While we are using a normal wild type pea plant we will also
being using a dwarf variation as well. This experiment will test the effect of Gibberellins, a
growth hormone that is known to increase height via cell elongation and/or cell division. The
hormone Gibberellins (GA), should drastically increase the height, number of nodes, and
internode length in the dwarf variation of Pisum sativum while having a minimal effect on the
wild type.

Materials: In this experiment 2 small planters, 4 Pisum sativum dwarf variation seeds, 4
Pisum sativum wild type seeds, De-ionized water, and Gibberellins (GA) spray were used per

Methods: You will need to work in at least groups of 2. Determine between your group
who will make control plants to be sprayed with Di-water, and who will make plants to be
sprayed with GA.

1) To begin, fill one of the small planters approximately full of soil.

2)Place one dwarf seed near each corner of the planter.

3) cover the seeds with more soil so that they are not tightly packed underneath the

The dwarf variation seeds will need to be planted several days before the wild type as it
takes longer to begin growing. Be sure to clearly mark whether you have planted dwarf or wild
type and if it is to be sprayed with Di-water or GA. You will also need to label the plants 1-4 on
the planter to accurately record the growth for each individual pea. Repeat steps 1-3 and the
labeling process for the wild type peas after the dwarf peas have begun to grow.

Once all the pea plants have begun growing measure them after a 1-week period,
measuring and record the height of each of your 4 dwarf and 4 wild type peas. Measure from
the top of the soil to the apical meristem of each plant. Next count and record the number of
nodes each plant has formed. Find the averages for height of your dwarves and wild type peas,
as well as the averages of their respective node count. You will most likely need to place 2-3
stakes into the planters between the pea plants. When placing the stakes into the planter be
sure to leave a significant amount of the stake about the soil as you will gently tie 1-2 pea
plants to each stake so that will continue to grow vertically. Repeat the process of measuring
height and node count after the 2nd week of growth. The internode length will be calculated by
the professor.


Average Height of Pea plants


Average height in Centimeters







Dwarf Di Dwarf GA Normal DI Normal GA

Average height day 0 average height day 7

Average number of nodes on Pea plants
Average number of Nodes 7.00
Dwarf Di Dwarf GA Normal DI Normal GA

avg number of nodes day 0 avg number of nodes day 7

Average Internode Length in Pea Plants

Average internode lentgh in centimeters







Dwarf Di Dwarf GA Normal DI Normal GA

Avg internode length day 0 Avg internode length day 7

Graph 1 indicates a significant increase in average height for the dwarf variation sprayed
with GA. Graph 2 and its data shows that neither variation had a significant increase in average
number of nodes. Graph 3 shows that the dwarf variation sprayed with GA had significant
growth of internode length.

Discussion: The results of this experiment at a glance vindicate my original hypothesis.

However, the increase in average number of nodes is not significant. The insignificant increase
in node count shows that Gibberellins (GA) did not have an effect on cell division. GA did
increase cell elongation in the dwarf variation increasing the average height and internode
length. While the dwarf variation was affected by increased cell elongation the normal wild
type has no discernable affect by GA at all. These overall results show that Gibberellins
increases cell elongation in dwarf type Pisum sativum, but has no other effect on both dwarf or
wild type Pisum sativum. This leads me to believe that when a plant is deprived of the hormone
Gibberellins, it can be sprayed with GA at a later time. Spraying the plant with GA will
compensate for its dwarfism. However, spraying a wild type plant with excess GA will have no
effect whatsoever on its growth.