Plant World

Plant Structure and Function

How does water move up a tree?

Water is carried up a tree through the xylem tissue in a process called transpiration. Constant evaporation from the leaf creates a flow of water from root to shoot. The roots of a tree absorb the vast majority of water that a tree needs. The properties of cohesion and adhesion allow the water to move up a tree regardless of its height. Cohesion allows the individual water molecules to stick together in one continuous stream. Adhesion permits the water molecules to adhere to the cellulose molecules in the walls of xylem cells. When the water reaches a leaf, water is evaporated, thus allowing additional water molecules to be drawn up through the tree.


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