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Horticulture/Science homework


I am doing an assignment on which flower drink/absorb water fastest and why. I discovered that tulips drink/absorb water faster than roses, but I cannot find a reason why it drink/absorbs water faster.
Does the thickness of the stem affect the drinking/absorbing rate? Does the length of it affect the rate?
If you don't know why then that is alright because, hardly anyone seems to know.

Hi Kev,

Flowers absorb and release water in 3 ways: Osmosis, Capillary action and Transpiration.  I don't know if you're working with whole plants or just cut flowers, but it doesn't make much difference in the answer.  Some plants/flowers are built to retain more moisture than others.  
Yes, I think you are onto something.  Think how much fleshier a tulip stem is than a rose stem.  They grow from a bulb which forms roots, and these are much less fibrous than the roots of a rose.  Take a look at a watermelon vine, then look at a raspberry or blackberry vine.  

Other factors are at play, too.  Soil type, wind, humidity, light, even water temperature makes a vast difference in water absorption.  When cut flowers wilt, some florists will stick them in water as hot as 210 F.  Wilted plants generally absorb warm water faster than cold.  Also, air trapped in the stem will prevent the uptake of water.

Here is a website with more information.  Thanks, for an interesting question, and I hope I've helped.


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Susan Tabor


Entomology,plant pathology, agronomy, native plants, useful and edible plants,medicinal plants,landscape design and installation, plant taxonomy and identification, cultivars and varieties, Botany, nutrient deficiencies, plant recommendations and troubleshooting.


35 years as a professional horticulturist and landscape contractor. I have a network of contacts at leading universities and with acknowledged experts in the field. I've restored the landscapes of several plantations, 2 Governors mansions and owned/managed 3 nursery/garden centers. I discovered a new subspecies of Emelia in 1997. I've locally introduced several native or volunteer species into mainstream landscape design.

Morning Advocate The Register Better Homes and Gardens All Experts - Approx 1996-97

Louisiana State University - horticulture David L. Hoffman - California - phytotheraphy

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