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An Experiment for National Celery Month

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This National Celery Month (yes, March is National Celery Month!) learn more about the all-star peanut butter and hummus dipper and soup ingredient.

Growing celery

In 1857, all along the banks of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan was thick, dark, black, muddy, moist, oozing muck. A clever man named Cornelius De Bruin decided to try to grow celery in this muck. At the time, celery was not very popular at all. In fact, many people thought it was poisonous. They could not even imagine the joys of eating celery with peanut butter! Cornelius’ celery thrived because the moist soil offered lots of water to nurture the young celery plants.

Celery plants require a wet environment to grow fully, since celery plants are nearly 95% water. Celery plants have a special system in them for transporting water. Water has to travel a long way from the roots of the plant to its leaves. This process is called capillary action. This simple experiment, which you can recreate at home, shows capillary action.

A simple celery experiment for kids

For the experiment, you will need:
•an adult helper
•a stalk of celery
•cutting board
•sharp knife
•sturdy cup
•water
•food coloring
•spoon

Instructions

Step 1

Ask your adult helper to cut the bottom off a celery stalk. Use a sharp knife to avoid crushing the fibers inside.

Step 2

Fill a cup half way with water. Add 3-4 drops of food coloring and mix with a spoon. Place celery stalk in cup with colored water.

Step 3

Observe the color of the celery leaves. They are green and look normal. Leave the celery stalk in the colored water for 24 hours and then observe.

Step 4

Observe the celery leaves again. Notice that the leaves look blue. Look more closely, and you can see that the veins that water travels through have turned blue. This is capillary action, or the movement of substances through plants.

Experiment results

Xylem is part of celery that moves water from roots to leaves. It is tube-like and gives celery strength and structure. This is the stuff that gets caught in your teeth when you bite celery.

Above is a cross-section view of vascular tissue in celery, which contains xylem, which are like water pipes that run through a plant. Why do you think the "pipes" have turned blue? How did the food color get inside the stalk and the leaves?

Vascular tissue also contains phloem, "pipes" that move food made in the leaves down into the roots. Why is this important? Could a plant survive without this?

Stay tuned for a celery recipe next week! Happy National Celery Month!

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