Skip to main content
Biology LibreTexts

4.5: Transport

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    The structure of plant roots, stems, and leaves facilitates the transport of water, nutrients, and photosynthates throughout the plant. The phloem and xylem are the main tissues responsible for this movement. Water and nutrients are absorbed from the soil by roots ands transported through the xylem. Much water is lost through the stomata in the leaves, and plants have a variety of adaptations to reduce water loss (Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\)). The products of photosynthesis move through the phloem from sources to the tissues and organs that need them. These mechanisms of transport allow plant organs to specialize because they can export excess substances and import what they do not produce or collect locally.

    A dragon's blood tree, demonstrating tightly packed branches.
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): The dragon's blood tree (Dracaena cinnabari) is adapted to the dry environment of Socotra Island in Yemen. The densely packed vegetation directs water towards the base of the tree and shades the soil below, allowing roots to absorb the water before it evaporates. Image by Rod Waddington (CC-BY-SA).


    Curated and authored by Melissa Ha using 30.5 Transport of Water and Solutes in Plants from Biology 2e by OpenStax (licensed CC-BY). Access for free at

    Thumbnail image: A potometer is used to measure transpiration rate, the loss of water through the stomata. Image by Theresa Knott and Rachel Knott (CC-BY-SA).

    This page titled 4.5: Transport is shared under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha, Maria Morrow, & Kammy Algiers (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .