The water along with dissolved minerals is carried upward by a major mechanism via xylem, which is known as Transpiration-Adhesion-Tension-Cohesion. According to this theory, a pressure differential is created due to the transpiration and evaporation of water from the leaves which helps to pull the fluids up from the roots, which were held together by cohesion. The movement of water in plants always takes place from an area of higher potential to an area of lower potential. The differences in osmotic concentration and water pressure between the two regions results in water potential. Osmotic concentration is the solute concentration in the water and water pressure is due to the presence of rigid cell walls. Water potential and osmotic concentration are inversely proportional. When solute concentration is high, water potential is low.
Xylem vessels are made up of dead cells joined end to end in the form of a long tube. This non-living tube goes from the roots of the plants through the stem and reaches the leaves. To form an open tube, the end walls of the cells are broken. The walls of the vessels are made up of cellulose or lignin and they do not have cytoplasm or nuclei. Xylem vessels, apart from transporting water and minerals, also provide strength to the stem due to the presence of lignin, which is very hard and helps in keeping the plant upright. In their cell walls, xylem vessels have pits where lignin is not deposited In flowering plants, the transportation of water takes place either through the xylem vessel or both xylem vessels and tracheids. The only water-conducting tissues in non-flowering plants are tracheids. With lignified walls and no open ends, tracheids are dead cells that are long, thin, and spindle-shaped. Water flows from one tracheid to another through pits that are present in them. Tracheids are present in all the plants.
The pathway of water
Through its epidermis, the soil water enters the root. The surface area for this uptake is greatly increased by the root hairs. The water then travels in either the symplast or the apoplast. The symplast in the cytoplasm of the root cells. In symplast, the water crosses the plasma membrane before passing from cell to cell through plasmodesmata. The apoplast is the non-living part of the root. The water here does not cross the plasma membrane, instead, it moves through the spaces between the cells and also in the cell walls. The endodermis, which is the inner boundary of the cortex is, however impervious to water due to the deposition of suberin in the Casparian strip, which is a band in its cell walls. Therefore, the apoplastic water must enter the symplast of the endodermal cells, to enter the stele. By plasmodesmata, it can pass from here into the cells of the stele. The water is free to move between cells and through them, it goes inside the stele. The water enters directly into the xylem vessels and tracheids in young roots. Water with the mineral, once in the xylem, moves up in the vessels and tracheids. The water can leave the xylem at any level to supply the needs of the other tissues by passing laterally. The xylem passes into the petiole at the leaves and from there it moves into the veins. The water enters the cells of the spongy and palisade layers after leaving the finest veins. Though most of the water is lost in transpiration, some of the water may be used in metabolism here.
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