Scientists Say: Guttation

This is a process that forces water out of a plant’s leaves and stem

Guttation leaf

The droplets on the edges of this strawberry leaf are the result of guttation.

NoahElhardt/Wikimedia Commons

Guttation (noun, “Guh-TAY-shun”)

This is a process in which water seeps out at the tips or edges of a plant’s leaves. The water is from xylem — the main water transport tissue in a plant. Usually, extra water escapes through tiny holes in the plant’s leaves and stem called stomata. But sometimes, those stomata are closed. When that happens, the pressure from water entering the roots continues to force water up through the plant. The water — and nutrients it picks up on the way — forces its way out as droplets at the tips and edges of leaves.

In a sentence

Bees like water from guttation because it picks up nutrients as it travels through the plant.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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