Plants that collect water on the top

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Offline t4786

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Plants that collect water on the top
« on: 01/06/2009 12:37:07 »
After watching Extraterrestrials, I was wondering whether can a plant take in water from the top like collect it in a basin like this strange plant?



PAGODA TREE
Distinguishing Features: Abundant carbon dioxide means the pagoda trees grow to more than half a mile tall. Cuplike crowns above the canopy collect rainwater to keep the uppermost limbs hydrated.
Closest Earth Cousin: Giant sequoias, but their growth is limited by the ability of the tree's vascular system to deliver water hundreds of feet up.

Is it possible for a plant or a tree to have a basin-like structure on the top of the plant to collect water? Won't the weight of the basin make the plant collapse? And if it's to not collapse what adaptations does it need?

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Offline Don_1

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #1 on: 01/06/2009 13:10:31 »
There are many plants which do this of the order Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads).

See http://www.bsi.org/brom_info/what.html
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Offline t4786

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #2 on: 01/06/2009 14:19:56 »
Hmm but they do not have trunks. like the plant in the picture

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Offline dentstudent

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #3 on: 01/06/2009 14:29:34 »
There may be some smaller plant species that channel water from rain etc towards their own stem and root system, but generally with the express intention of using through their roots, and where the water remains external to the plant. Since water is required for cation exchange in the soil which are then absorbed through the roots, there is little point in collecting it at the top of the tree where there is no exchange process - it just wouldn't be efficient or structurally advantageous, which may itself be the reason that there aren't any. Water is of course released from the top (in addition to other areas) as part of the transpiration cycle.

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Offline LeeE

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #4 on: 01/06/2009 15:02:24 »
...Abundant carbon dioxide means the pagoda trees grow to more than half a mile tall.

Half a mile tall?
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Don_1

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #5 on: 01/06/2009 15:20:50 »
...Abundant carbon dioxide means the pagoda trees grow to more than half a mile tall.

Half a mile tall?

This particular plant can only exist in the world of science fantasy. The real thing, the bromeliads, could not reach such dizzy heights. According to science fantasy, their nearest Earth relative would be the Sequoia.
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Offline dentstudent

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #6 on: 01/06/2009 17:02:40 »
According to science fantasy, their nearest Earth relative would be the Sequoia.
and that's pretty much all it is. There is absolutely nothing to link a sequoia with these SF plants, other than they are tall.

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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #7 on: 02/06/2009 08:07:27 »
BTW LeeE, these plants, I think, according to science fantasy, are supposed to live in a CO2 rich atmosphere and trap lighter than air gases in their cells to help with their support. I guess they would float a bit like a helium filled balloon.

Perhaps we could try to GM the Runner Bean in this fashion. Then we could have a single bean which would be enough to feed a family of 4 for a week!
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Offline LeeE

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Plants that collect water on the top
« Reply #8 on: 02/06/2009 22:30:08 »
Are there no winds on this fantasy planet?
...And its claws are as big as cups, and for some reason it's got a tremendous fear of stamps! And Mrs Doyle was telling me it's got magnets on its tail, so if you're made out of metal it can attach itself to you! And instead of a mouth it's got four arses!

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Offline Don_1

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« Reply #9 on: 03/06/2009 15:43:41 »
Good question....... I have no idea.

Have a look at the web site http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.02/alien.html, loads of weird things like this ugly sod.
If brains were made of dynamite, I wouldn't have enough to blow my nose.