Water Absorption of Plants


Water is vital to every function of a plant, from growth and photosynthesis to hydration. All plants draw in water through various structures in complex ways.

Vascular Plants

Vascular plants make up most of the plants on Earth. They obtain water and essential nutrients through an internal system of vessels, which is called the vascular system.


The tips of plant roots have a number of hairlike fibers. These fibers bring in most of a plant's water. The fibers are permeable and absorb moisture in the soil through osmosis.


Water is transferred from roots to vascular vessels called xylem. Xylem carry the water up the plant's stem and out to its leaves, where it is used for hydration, cooling and photosynthesis.


Vessels called phloem transport sugar made by plant leaves downward into every part of the plant. Some of the sugar is stored, some is used right away for food and some forms the building blocks for new plant tissue.

Non-Vascular Plants

Non-vascular plants have no vascular system. They typically live in water or on land that has high amounts of moisture. Their leaflike structures are permeable and can absorb water and minerals directly.


  • "Micscape Magazine;" Water Movement through a Plant; Anne Bruce; March 2000
  • Estrella Mountain Community College: Online Biology Book--Plants and Their Structure; Mike Farabee, Ph.D.
Keywords: how plants absorb water, plant vascular system, plants and water

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