How does water really reach the leaves of trees?

Matthew J. Linton linton at botany.uga.edu
Tue Feb 29 09:37:51 EST 2000


If you find that "the accepted explanations for fluid transport [are]
somewhat confusing," perhaps you should do additional reading in the field.
The theory of water transport, which is called "the cohesion-tension
theory," is well described in a number of textbooks, the best of which might
be "Plant Physiology" by Frank B. Salisbury and Cleon W. Ross.  Your local
college or university library probably has a copy of it.  The text that you
included is VERY POOR at describing xylem and phloem transport, osmosis, and
root pressure.  There are alternative theories for water transport, notably
one by M.J. Canny 1995 "NEW THEORY FOR THE ASCENT OF SAP-COHESION SUPPORTED
BY TISSUE PRESSURE" Annals Of Botany 75(4):343-357, but this theory really
hasn't survived a number of follow-up research studies, including articles
in Nature (378:715-716) and Science (270: 1193-1194).  Although it is
healthy for one to question established theories in science, you can't just
disregard decades and decades of careful research by hundreds of scientists
just because "the accepted explanations...are somewhat confusing."
Good luck in your quest.

Matthew J. Linton






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