Children are funny and curious. Things which we often overlook or take for granted, are like great mysteries for them. Only yesterday, after my son came out of from the loo he asked me a question “Mom, plants are living beings right? So, how to they poop and pee? I have never seen them doing that.” Honestly, I was taken aback by this question. Yes, they are living being like us and that should make them poop and pee as well. They also require an excretion system just like human beings and animals, but how exactly does it work? I had no idea. I might have read about it growing up but I did not remember a single thing. So, I told him I would find it out and tell him. Since his question was very relevant, I decided to share the same with you all today. So this post is dedicated to plant’s excretion system.
Plants like other living creatures consume sugars they produce during photosynthesis to obtain energy. This process of consuming sugars and converting them into energy is called Respiration. It is same in plants like the rest of the living creatures and produces waste in the form of Carbon Dioxide which is then released in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is released through the plant’s pores and is simultaneously used for photosynthesis. Similarly, the oxygen produced by photosynthesis is used for respiration. This is the simplest form of waste produced and released by the plants. However, this is not the only waste. Just like we need to excrete water from our body in form of sweat and urine, plants excrete excess water through their leaves. They have small pores called ‘Stomata’ through which they excrete this excess water.
Besides these two common forms of wastes, plants also get rid of their waste by storing them in their leaves. Eventually, the leaves turn brown and fall off them. Other forms of plant wastes include:
• Nitrogenous compounds released through roots in the soil.
Most of these wastes produced by plants are useful like raisins, oils and gums are used in various industrial processes.
- Take a stroll in a nearby park. Ask your child to identify different plant and guess which ones would excrete resins. Once you have finalized the tree or plant which will secrete resins, pluck its leaf to see if there is any secretion. Some leaves excrete a sticky white fluid.
- For a tree, mark the tree and scrape a little bark from the trunk.
- Visit the tree again next day to see if resin has deposited where you scraped the bark from.
What is interesting is that we often assume these wastes as secretions from plants without realizing the underlying phenomenon. Lot of trees around us secrete milk and sap from their stems and barks respectively but we forget what these really are. This is where the curiosity of a child’s mind enlighten us and help us see the world with wonder. Science is all around us, all we need is perhaps the curiosity of a little mind.
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