Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Propagating a white cultivar of Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora
September 09, 2016 - I am trying to propagate a white cultivar of the Texas Mountain Laurel. I plan to use bee sticks and pollinate the plant. Are the plants self fruiting or do I need to find another white mountain laure...
view the full question and answer

Percentage of flowers that close up at night
July 19, 2007 - Percentage-wise, approximately how many species of flowers close up at night? Is there a list anywhere?
view the full question and answer

Phytoremediation Plant List for St. Louis MO
April 19, 2012 - My goal is to transform urban blight plots (some up to 1/4 acre) into viable community gardens having healthy, living soil as their foundation. To this end I am researching phytoremediation (thanks...
view the full question and answer

Bird nest fungus in Central Austin, TX.
August 21, 2012 - Hi, I live in Central Austin and have different types of ground cover (such as silver pony foot)in my garden and have noticed huge patches of bird's nest fungi in between and under. Every time it ...
view the full question and answer

Grafting stone fruit
April 02, 2009 - Do you know of anyone grafting the new low chill stone fruit trees to the Mexican plum to minimize cotton rot? Or would it even work?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.