Travel through a part of the water cycle that we don’t often think about: Water’s journey from the roots of a Douglas fir, upward through hair-thin fibers within the trunk, reaching the tree’s photosynthesizing needles. From there, the water escapes into the air via transpiration, eventually returning to earth as precipitation.
“This Douglas fir’s thirsty roots draw nutrient-filled water toward its trunk. The tree acts like a giant water pump; thick bark protects thin layers of tubes where fluids move up and down the tree. Far above us and in the tree’s needles, photosynthesis takes place. The tree uses sunlight to produce energy-rich sugary sap that flows down the outermost layer of tubes.”
“But deeper inside, we find hair-thin fibers that transport water skyward. We’re heading along a direct route that connects the deepest roots to the highest needles, which need water for photosynthesis. Water escapes from tiny pores on the needles—this helps keep the forest cool—and water vapor can collect into clouds and eventually fall as rain.”
Plus, learn more about water and the water cycle:
• The Basics of Fresh Water
• The Water Cycle, a boogie-woogie stop motion clay animation
• Why is water one of the weirdest things in the universe?
• Why Most Rain Never Reaches The Ground
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