In this week’s tip, we’ll be introducing you to a few more botanical terms to deepen your understanding of how plants feed and grow.

There are two main fluids that transport water and nutrients throughout the plant. Xylem transports water and soluble minerals from the roots and to the leaves and stems while phloem transports primarily organic substances created by photosynthesis down to the roots.

Combined, these two materials help a plant to survive and connect the leaves and branches of a tree with its roots.

Xylem is made of vessels that serve two functions: the first and primary purpose is to move water around, and the second as a means of support. If you’ve ever looked at the rings of a tree, the remains of old xylem tissue make of the rings that you. Phloem moves one way, from the roots to the leaves of the plant.

Phloem tissues are always alive and don’t die off like xylem does on a yearly basis. It is able to move up and down the plants stem and primarily work to move food and nutrients from leave to storage organs or growing plant areas.

Cover Image by Danny Nicholson, used under its Creative Commons license.

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