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ZingPath: Plant Water and Nutrient Transport

Water Transportation within Plants

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Plant Water and Nutrient Transport

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Lesson Focus

Water Transportation within Plants


Learning Made Easy

You get to find out how water can get to the top of a tall tree without the help of a heart or pumping mechanism. Learn interesting details about how water and nutrients are transported throughout plants.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Explain the transport of water in plants.
  • List the forces at work in the transport of water in plants.
  • Explain capillary action.
  • Explain the role of transpiration in the transport of water in plants.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Describe the water transportation system in plants.

~ Water goes into the roots of plants and is pressured to go up the plant stem, but this will not carry it very far. Water then moves through the xylem tissue up to the tallest parts of the plant through capillary action and transpiration. Capillary action caused by the adhesion force, the attraction between water and the stem, and the cohesion force, which is the attraction between the water molecules, causes the water to creep up the inside walls of the xylem cells. Finally, transpiration, aided by the cohesion and adhesion of water, helps transport water.

Since root pressure and capillary action are not enough to lift water to the topmost leaves and branches of a California redwood tree, what other factors must be taken into account?

~ Transpiration is the way water vapor is lost through a plant's leaves, and is also the major force in the transport of water in plants. When water is lost through transpiration, the loss in water pressure draws nearby water molecules to replace them. Then, other water is pulled upward to replace this water, because of the strong adhesive attraction that exists between water molecules.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should have a general understanding of the following terms:
Course Biology
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary adhesion, biology, botany