Queen Anne’s Lace Fireworks!

Don’t these colored Queen Anne’s Lace flowers look like fireworks? They would make a beautiful July 4th decoration and you’ll have a chance to teach the kids some botony on the side. ;) I saw Joy, You know how we’re an art family, do it with her family, and me being the nature girl I am HAD to try it. I’ve done this with carnations and celery, but this is by far my favorite flower for this experiment!


What you need:
Freshly cut Queen Anne’s Lace flowers
Food coloring (we used Easter egg dye)
Clear bottles
Water


Now, simply color the water (10-20 drops) and add a flower to each bottle. Then wait, keep checking the flowers every 10 minutes. Let them sit overnight too, they get brighter and bolder with time.

Make predictions about which one will be colored first. Orange was the fastest for us, then blue, yellow and green.The red and purple barely worked at all, the backs of the florets turned color, but you couldn’t see it through the front.


How does it work?
Most plants “drink” water from the ground through their roots. The water travels up the stem of the plant into the leaves and flowers where it makes food. When a flower is cut, it no longer has it’s roots, but the stem of the flower still “drinks” up the water and provides it to the leaves and flowers.
There are two things that combine to move water through plants — TRANSPIRATION and COHESION. Water evaporating from the leaves, buds and petals (TRANSPIRATION) pulls water up the stem of the plant. This works in the same way as sucking on a straw. Water that evaporates from the leaves “pulls” other water behind it up to fill the space left by the evaporating water, but instead of your mouth providing the suction it is due to evaporating water. This can happen because water is very sticky–to itself (called water COHESION) and because the tubes in the plant stem are very small (in a part of the plant called the XYLEM). This process is called CAPILLARY ACTION. (Explantation from Steve Spangler Science).

We also tried this with Daisy Fleabane, the orange worked, but the rest of the flowers didn’t change colors. Our next experiment will be to try and figure out why purple and red didn’t work on the Queen Anne’s Lace and why only the orange worked on the Daisy Fleabane.

Now I am off to press these beauties for a future activity! Enjoy!

2 Comments

  • July 21, 2010 - 12:57 am | Permalink

    Oh, this idea is right up my alley – your blog is right up my alley! I’ve included the link to this one in my weekly roundup of inspiring projects and posts, blogged here:
    http://www.camilledawn.com/2010/07/tuesday-tumblr-6.html

    i can’t wait to check out all the archives, and for all of the good stuff to come -i’m a new fan and following along!
    thanks so much!
    camille =)

  • July 20, 2010 - 1:23 pm | Permalink

    That is so cool! My 2 year old and I have been working on colors, so we HAVE to try this!

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