Water Transport in Plants
Water is essential for all living things, including plants. Vegetation relies on water in the ground surrounding its roots. After you’ve watered a wilted plant, you’ve probably noticed how the plant’s stem and leaves straighten up in only a couple hours. But how does the water in the roots get up to the upper parts of the plant?
The answer is the xylem tubes. The xylem tubes are similar to your blood vessels. In both, water and some nutrients are transported around the organism’s body. Plants don’t have a heart to pump liquids around their bodies, so they rely on physical forces to move liquid up to the highest leaf. Two of the most important forces are cohesion and adhesion. Cohesion is the attraction of one like molecule to another. Adhesion is the attractive force between different molecules. Within the xylem tubes, the forces of cohesion and adhesion are stronger than the force of gravity, allowing the water to reach the top of a house plant, or towering redwood tree.
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