– Houston, TX
We all know the saying that “April showers bring May flowers.” As March comes to a close and the rainy April weather begins, flowers are beginning to bloom. Why not make the most of this floral season with a fun and educational experiment?
White flowers (preferably carnations)
Various colors of liquid food coloring
Trim the flower stems at a steep angle
Add water to each vase
Add 10-20 drops of food coloring to each vase and stir
Add one or more flowers to each vase
Observe changes in the flower colors every few hours
Transpiration Pull and Capillary Action
This experiment helps us observe two processes found in flowers, known as transpiration and capillary action. Transpiration is the evaporation of water through a plant’s flowers, stems, and leaves, creating a force called transpiration pull. Transpiration pull helps draw water up from the roots into the leaves. This process allows water to move through the xylem, or transportation tissue. Another process that allows water to move upward through a plant is capillary action. Water is able to move upwards because the water molecules are attracted to capillary walls through adhesion, the tendency of particles to attach to one another. We can observe these two processes in the experiment by watching the color move throughout the flower. As water moves up the stem of the plant into the flower, the color is also visible, making this gradual process more clear. As water evaporates from the flower, the pigment from the dye remains, giving the flower a beautiful new color.
Not only does this experiment provide a fun activity, it also provides an in-depth look at processes within plants and beautiful flowers as a bonus. There are many more processes within plants to explore, so as always, stay curious!