Polka-Dot Celery

Polka-Dot Celery


Have you ever wondered how plants get water and nutrients from the soil to their leaves/or flowers? This Polka-Dot Celery experiment helps you learn how this happens.

The purpose of this experiment is to place celery stalks into different colored food dyes and after a few days observe how the dye is sucked up through the stem. Not only will you learn about the vascular system of a plant and how this happens, but you'll also design an experiment in which you will place the celery in different colored solutions to see if there is a difference in how the celery absorbs the dye.

Pre-lab Questions

These questions are to be completed before the set-up of the experiment. Please read over the recipe and the How Did That Happen? section (p. 112) found in the Amazing (Mostly) Edible Science book to help answer these questions.

Draw a picture of a plant below and label which part is the stem and which are the roots. Which part of the celery are you using in this experiment?



What is the vascular system of the plant? Add to your picture above the direction water is being transported and the direction the sugar is being transported.



Think of the suction of water up the plant stem like sucking water through a straw. How do you think this happens in plants?



To compare the suction of the celery stems between different colors of food dyes, how would you set up this experiment? Draw out the experimental set-up below. Remember you want to be as consistent as possible between each condition.




How are you going to set up the experiment above and compare your results between conditions? 





Do you think one food color will be suctioned faster than the others? Explain.




Day 1



Day 2



Day 3



Data Collection Table 

Condition (color of food dye)

Height or volume of water (cm or mL)

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3
































Post-lab Questions

What are the “dots” on your celery stalks showing you?



Using your observations and data collected, what conclusions can you make about the different colored food dyes?



Name two other plants that you could substitute into this experiment.



What were the possible sources of experimental error? What would you do differently if you had to set this experiment up again?



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