How do flowers bloom in the spring?


(ringing) – Hi, it’s Doug. Flowers are known for being pretty, when I think about them, I also like to think about the extremes. Like, what are the biggest
flowers in the world? Well, one of them is this. It’s called the Rafflesia flower, and it’s found in southeast Asia. You can see it’s absolutely huge. Someone named Yahya has
another question about flowers. Let’s give him a call now. (ringing) – Hi, Doug. – Hi, Yahya. – I have a question for you. How do flowers bloom in the spring? – That is a great question. In early springtime, you might
have noticed green leaves or stems start growing
little by little each day. But the amazing thing about flowers is that it’s like one day, poof! Almost like magic, it’s not
just leaves and a stem anymore, but a flower pops open on top. And notice it’s not just
small plants either. Many trees have flowers that
bloom in springtime too. How do plants do this? I think one thing that makes this question especially interesting is that
plants aren’t exactly famous for moving, or doing anything exciting that catches our attention,
the way animals do. Animals have muscles, and muscles are what enable
animals to move around all over the place. In fact, we even use
part of the word animal in words like animate or animation, words that involve movement. But plants really do move, as you can see when you watch
them in a sped-up video. They not only open up their flower petals, they twist and reach for the sun. Some plants even capture
bugs, like this Venus Flytrap. And yet, unlike animals,
plants have no muscles. If plants don’t have muscles,
then how do they move? How do plants do things like make flowers pop open in springtime? Before I say anything more,
now would be a good time to pause the video and discuss. Okay, you ready? One important clue is to notice what else is happening in springtime, when most flowers bloom. Springtime might make you
think of sunlight and warmth, and plants do need sunlight, but there’s something else that happens with the weather in
spring, and that’s this. Lots of rain. It’s usually after springtime rains that we see so many
flowers start blooming. You probably know that
plants soak up water from their roots. Like all living things, plants need that water to live and grow. But could it be that plants
also use water in order to move? It’s maybe a little
weird to think of water of something that can cause movement. But forget plants for a minute. Think of a familiar situation like this. When this paper towel gets
dipped into a cup of water, notice how the water
moves up the paper towel. Or, in this video, someone has
put food coloring in water, and just my dipping a
paper towel in each cup, the water slowly moves from cup to cup. Water has some surprisingly properties. It can move up surfaces,
like a paper towel. Or as you might have seen
if you’ve ever played with little toy sponge
capsules like these, water even has the power to make certain things expand, or swell. One way to see for yourself
the power of water in plants is to notice what happens
when you water a plant that’s been really dry. In this sped-up video, you
can see how the plant stems were dropping down, but
after the plant gets watered, the stems stand up straight again. So even though plants don’t have muscles, plants can soak up water from the ground, then use some of these
surprising properties of water to make some of their parts move. Now, for this week’s episode,
we’ve created an activity where you can explore one of these surprisingly
properties of water and really see for
yourself how this works. There will be a link to the activity at the end of this video. That’s all for this week’s question. Thanks Yahya for asking it. Now, for the next episode, here are the three questions I picked from the question jar a few weeks ago, before we did our special episodes. If you already voted in
this poll, that’s okay. When this video is done
playing, you can vote again. Here are the choices. How do you make cardboard? Do all plants grow from seeds? Or, why do we have eyebrows? So submit your vote
when the video is over. I want to hear from all of you watching. There are mysteries all around us. Stay curious, and see you next week.

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