Celery transpiration science experiment : Fizzics Education


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Celery transpiration

Celery transpiration

Follow FizzicsEd 150 Science Experiments:

You will need

  • One bunch of Celery
  • One cup of Water (roughly 400mL)
  • Food Colouring
  • One sharp Knife and chopping board (adult help please!)
  • Somewhere to leave the experiment undisturbed


Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - setupmaterials
1 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - cutting celery

Use adult help when cutting the celery

Take one stick of celery off the bunch and cut the bottom 2 cm off of the stick. Careful; choose a length of celery that won’t tip over your cup of water when it’s placed in the cup.

2 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - adding food colouring to glass of water

Add some food colouring to the cup of water (make the colour quite dark).

3 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - sitting celery in blue water

The celery should be able to lean against the cup without tipping it over.

Put the cut end of the stick of celery into the cup of darkly coloured water.

4 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - sitting celery in blue water (after a few hours)(2)

Leave the cup and celery for at least half an hour. Check on the leaves regularly to see if there is any discolouration at the ends of the leaves.

5 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - sitting celery in blue water (after a few hours)

The celery changes to a shade of blue…

Observe the differences in the celery.

How did this happen? Did the food colouring cause this?

6 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - cutting celery stem in half

Look near the outside of the cut celery stem…

Cut the celery stick around halfway up, and have a look at the inside of the stem.
Can you see where the food colouring went?

7 Celery Transpiration Science Experiment - celery cross section

Try testing different variables (different colours, different plant types, sugar or salt in the water etc).

8 A student holding a paint roller with toilet paper flying off it due to a leaf blower.
9 Teacher showing how to do an experiment outside to a group of kids.

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– Help students learn how science really works

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Why Does This Happen?

You should have seen that the food coloured water travelled up the stem of the celery and into the leaves.
How does food colour get up there? Gravity should be holding the water down, right?

Water is found all the way through the celery: in the stems, the leaves and the roots. The water in the leaves of the celery evaporates through the surface of the leaves, and this leaves space inside the leaves where the water was. This process is called transpiration. That new empty space inside the leaves creates a low pressure, and like a drinking straw, this low pressure allows water below the leaf to travel up the stem. You’ll see the little tubes the water travels up when you cut the celery stem, and you can see the colour up in the leaves. These tubes are called Xylem and are part of the plant’s vascular system. This how plants transport the water and nutrients from the soil up to the very highest leaves. By the way, the tubes that transport sugars from the leaves downwards are called phloem).

Variables to test

More on variables

  • Does warm vs cold food colouring influence the speed of the experiment?
  • Try flowers in food colouring
  • Run this experiment on a hot vs a cold day
  • Does cutting off the leaves at the top of the celery make a difference?

Learn more!


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