Explore Plants

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
    
 

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

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

Drawings of Illinois native wildflowers
July 15, 2006 - I am looking for line drawings of Illinois Native Wildflowers to use for educational material for visitors to our new City Park. We plan to have signs throughout the park describing how Native Americ...
view the full question and answer

Comments on white-flowered Mountain Laurel from Austin
December 23, 2012 - Following up on the August 23, 2012, question from Driftwood about the white-flowering mountain laurel, I have found a few more leads to explore. First, there are four more images of white-flowering m...
view the full question and answer

Are freshwater sponges poisonous if eaten by a dog?
September 25, 2009 - Are freshwater sponges, native to Missouri, poisonous if eaten by a dog?
view the full question and answer

Why will my Butternut trees not produce nuts in Tennessee?
May 06, 2009 - I have 2 butternut trees planted about 20 ft from each other. I see the long blossoms on each tree but I have not gotten any nuts from either tree. I do not know if I have a male and female or if th...
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.