The three wavelength bands of ultraviolet radiation, i.e. UV-A, UV-B and UV-C, all have different effects on plants. UV-C, which is not a component of the natural environment, has predominantly negative effects, UV-A positive effects from the perspective of plant development and survival. The effects of UV-B can be positive or negative. Of course this is a generalization, and the official spectral limits between the bands, 280 and 315 nm, do not mark sudden changes in biological actions.

True apoptosis induced by ultraviolet radiation in plants has so far been observed only in one case, while there are numerous observations of UV effects on the related phenomenon of senescence.

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