Multicolored Flowers

Elementary Botany Science Fair Project
Photo © 2008 Subramanian Kabilan, Flickr

This science experiment, designed for upper elementary students by the creators of Cool-Science-Projects, is perfect for those interested in plant biology, or botany. While the procedure is simple, the project offers many opportunities for scientific inquiry!

Plant Vascular Systems

Ever received a bouquet of flowers, placed them in a vase of water, and returned several days later to find the water level has significantly decreased? While we all know that plants need water to survive, have you ever wondered how water travels through the parts of the plant? Many students might find it strange to realize that plants have a vascular system - an intricate series of vessels and tissues - that carries fluids and nutrients from the environment to its various parts!

Project Overview

With several white flowers (carnations or roses) and colored water, students will observe the workings of plant's vascular system during this experiment. As the flower absorbs the dyed water, they'll actually be able to see the tiny veins that carry water to each part of the petal.

Two-Tone Flowers

To spice up your project and display, consider creating two-tone flowers. Here's the procedure:

  1. Prepare two 250mL glass graduated beakers with lukewarm water. Add 10-15 drops of food coloring (of different colors) into each beaker.
  2. Use scissors to trim the flower so that it is 2-inches taller than the beakers. Cut the flower at a 45-degree angle. Then use the scissors to cut the stem in half - starting from the bottom and working toward the top. Do not cut into the bulb of the flower head.
  3. Place one half of the stem in the first beaker and the other into the second beaker. Leave the flower in a warm room for a few hours and, upon return, you'll find that the flower has turned two colors! This shows that the tiny tubes in the stem used to transport water lead to a specific part of the flower.
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