Scientists Say: Guttation | Science News for Students

Scientists Say: Guttation

This is a process that forces water out of a plant’s leaves and stem
Apr 10, 2017 — 6:50 am EST
Guttation leaf

The droplets on the edges of this strawberry leaf are the result of guttation.

NoahElhardt/Wikimedia Commons

Guttation (noun, “Guh-TAY-shun”)

This is a process in which water seeps out at the tips or edges of a plant’s leaves. The water is from xylem — the main water transport tissue in a plant. Usually, extra water escapes through tiny holes in the plant’s leaves and stem called stomata. But sometimes, those stomata are closed. When that happens, the pressure from water entering the roots continues to force water up through the plant. The water — and nutrients it picks up on the way — forces its way out as droplets at the tips and edges of leaves.

In a sentence

Bees like water from guttation because it picks up nutrients as it travels through the plant.

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Power Words

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guttation     A process in which water moves up through plants in night, powered by higher water pressure in the plant’s roots. Because the stomata (pores on the leaves) of many plants will close at night, water will attempt to squeeze out at the edges and tips of leaves. When it is successful, that water with gather into one or more tiny droplets. 

nutrient     A vitamin, mineral, fat, carbohydrate or protein that a plant, animal or other organism requires as part of its food in order to survive.

pressure     Force applied uniformly over a surface, measured as force per unit of area.

tissue     Any of the distinct types of material, comprised of cells, which make up animals, plants or fungi. Cells within a tissue work as a unit to perform a particular function in living organisms. Different organs of the human body, for instance, often are made from many different types of tissues.

xylem     The part of a plant that conducts water, nutrients and sap.

NGSS: 

  • MS-LS1-3
  • HS-LS1-2