En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Problem With Vegetable Garden Soil
June 09, 2013 - We live in Liberty Hill on 25 acres and we are working to restore native grasses and plants. We are ardent supporters of the Wildflower center. I say this because my question is not "typical" of wh...
view the full question and answer

Variation in leaves for Vitis mustangensis
May 17, 2012 - Hi, I am doing a sculpture of a mustang grape vine in limestone. In seeking a good leaf image I notice that there are both roundish shaped leaves and highly divided or "fingered" shapes on your sit...
view the full question and answer

Guide for plants for landscaping in Central Texas
October 22, 2008 - I am new to Texas and want nothing but native plants. What is the best book or guide so i can see the plants, flowers, shrubs and trees and know best what part of the yard to plant them in? I live i...
view the full question and answer

Will a Venus flytrap bite?
December 01, 2008 - Will a venus flytrap bite a person? Taylor
view the full question and answer

Black Walnut tree in LA
March 12, 2012 - I was just given a black walnut tree and am trying to determine where to place it. I’ve read on your site that “Certain plants will not grow under Black Walnut trees because of the juglones that the ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center