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Phosphorus

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Lack of phosphorus also causes diminutive plants. The 
symptoms in young plants are a dark green to purplish color 
of the leaves, abnormal stiffness of stalks and leaves, poor root 
development, and some discoloration. The roots are longer 
than usual but produce few laterals. 

Plants absorb an excess of phosphorus under special condi- 
tions, such as when nitrogen is lacking in the nutrient solution. 
It is difficult to tell the symptoms of phosphorus excess from 
those of nitrogen deficiency. In such a case plants are characterized by large root systems, sparse foliage, stiff leaves and 
stems. 

Species having sizable seed, such as many cereals, can repro- 
duce without receiving phosphorus from outside sources, that 
contained in the seed being enough to produce diminutive 
plants. However, plants like lettuce, radish, and turnip, which 
have small, seed, must be provided with an additional supply 
of this element to reproduce. 

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