This is an easy experiment where you put a white flower into a recipient filled with water and liquid watercolor, so that the flower gets dyed.

While doing this experiment for different types of flowers, and assuming equal ambient conditions, what would be the most important characteristics (e.g. flower size, petal length, stem thickness, number of petals...) and the biological reasons for certain flower type to consume water (and get itself dyed) faster than another? (e.g., does a thicker stem mean the xylem is stronger?)

More specifically, I'm interested in comparing a rose like this and a carnation (like the one shown in comments) as an example to the answer.

(Note: I couldn't show a carnation sample image due to my reputation being lower than 10, but I'll update it as soon as I can).

  • $\begingroup$ light levels and temprature will have a large effect, so you should consider this. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 5, 2017 at 3:41
  • $\begingroup$ @John Experiment was attempted to make under similar light and temperature values, although it wasn't exactly made in perfectly equal conditions (It was a school project). Yet I'd mostly like to know what should happen and why. $\endgroup$ Jul 5, 2017 at 3:54
  • $\begingroup$ The major factor should be how much water each looses and thus needs to be replaced by the dyed water. photosynthesis levels and stomatal count will both effect this. Stomata count is influenced by both genetics and the environment in which the plant is raised. Hopefully someone with more knowledge about these specific plants can help, but I would not expect the loss/uptake to be the same. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Jul 5, 2017 at 4:03
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ One problem with giving a definitive answer is that there are literally thousands of different varieties of roses, with different flower sizes and number of petals. I'd guess (perhaps wrongly :-)) that water uptake is related to the area of the petals, so a single-flowered species rose would take up water much slower than something like a centifolia. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jul 5, 2017 at 6:10
  • $\begingroup$ related: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/48023/do-flowers-transpire $\endgroup$
    – Alan Boyd
    Jul 5, 2017 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


Don't forget to consider the 'engineering' of the plant, as brought about by evolutionary history. Some plants will build fewer openings in their leaves ('stomata'); others use a strategy that allows them to only open these at night (see 'C4 photosynthesis') or CAM (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism) photosynthesis.

  • $\begingroup$ rbrucep is totally right, the engineering of the plant, waxyness, stomata size and frequency, surface area, cils to stop air moving, water reserves within the plant, rigidity and pressure of cell walls, change the plant's responses. $\endgroup$ Mar 3, 2018 at 5:27

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