The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening Science - Soils, Manure and the Environment
Chapter: Chapter 4: Weather and Climate

Water absorption by leaves

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1355. The power of different substances to absorb aqueous vapour from, the atmosphere by cohesive attraction has been already referred to. The leaves of living plants appear to act upon this vapour in its elastic form, and to absorb it. Some vegetables increase in weight from this cause, when suspended in the atmosphere and unconnected with the soil; such are the house-leek, and different species of the aloe. In very intense heats, and when the soil is dry, the life of plants seems to be preserved by the absorbent power of their leaves; and it is a beautiful circumstance in the economy of nature, that aqueous vapour is most abundant in the atmosphere when it is most needed for the purposes of life; and that, when other sources of its supply are cut off, this is most copious.