En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
1 rating

Friday - March 07, 2008

From: Newark, AR
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Increase in plant cell size when nuclei take on water
Answered by:

QUESTION:

Do plant cells increase in size when vacuoles or nuclei take on water?

ANSWER:

Every plant cell has a vacuole and a nucleus. The vacuole, although the name means "empty space", actually is an inner sac containing much of the cell's stored water and occupies a large part of the volume of most cells. The vacuole is enclosed in a membrane to hold the water in place.

The nucleus of a cell is its control center from which comes instructions for the cell's operation, maintenance, and reproduction. Between and around the nucleus and vacuole is the cytoplasm, a soft jelly-like material in which most of the cell's metabolism takes place.

Water entering the cell is stored in the vacuole, which expands and presses the cytoplasm against the rigid cell wall, so the cell does not expand or increase in size. When a vacuole becomes full, the cell wall squeezes water out, a safety valve to keep the cell from inflating to the bursting point. This pressure against the cell wall is what holds the shape of the plant, keeping the leaves flat or the stems standing up straight. If too much water is released and more water is not added, the plant will begin to wilt.

 

More General Botany Questions

Mountain laurel with fasciation
July 24, 2014 - My Texas Mountain Laurel bush has developed several "crested branches." What causes this, is it harmful & how do I get rid of them??? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Why do some flowers open during the day and close at night?
April 08, 2009 - My son is doing a science fair project on the California Poppies. We are trying to find the definitive answer on why the flowers open during the day and close at night.
view the full question and answer

Purple leatherflower with white bloom
July 17, 2014 - A couple of years ago at the wildflower center native plant sale I bought a purple leatherflower according to the tag. This is the first year it has bloomed and the blooms are pure white. The shape ma...
view the full question and answer

The Designation of Annual and Perennial Plants
July 25, 2014 - Sometimes when researching a plant I will find it listed as both annual and perennial. I understand that some plants will be perennial in a warm climate and die in a colder zone, but it is still a per...
view the full question and answer

Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious?
July 28, 2014 - Is Viburnum rufidulum monoecious or dioecious? Your database does not address this for most plants.
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center