Exposure to cold paralyses enzyme activities and induces a decrease in the fluidity of the cellular membranes. As such, water and nutrient transport through the membranes can be affected and the plant may stop producing. If there is a sudden, intense drop in temperature, the plant runs the risk of freezing, with ice crystals forming within the cells, which will cause the cell to be severely dehydrated.
Prolonged exposure to extremely high temperatures damages the cells by due to the inactivation of enzymes and denaturing of proteins, which induces an increase in the fluidity of the cellular membranes. In other words, the permeability of solutes through the membranes is affected. Heat also intensifies plant respiration with regards to photosynthesis, which can cause paralysed growth.