Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Growing Plants with Food Dye
Name: Catherine R.
Status: educator
Age: 30s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 6/25/2003


Question:
Why wont the white flowers on a pansy plant show any sign of absorbing red dye when it is watered with a strong solution of red food colouring for 2 weeks?

I am trying out an experiment to demonstrate osmosis using a control plant and an experimental plant. After two weeks of different treatment,they both look exactly the same. I was hoping that the experiment plant would absorb the red dye and show some red colouring in the veins of its white flower. Is there another way to show this happening using flowering plants?


Replies:
Probably would work better on cut flowers in water.

http://pan.intrasun.tcnj.edu/JPE/Brogan/dyeing_carnations.htm

Anthony Brach, Ph.D


Whether or not you can dye a flower depends both upon the flower you choose and upon the chemical structure of the dye molecules. Some dyes simply are absorbed by the flower. That appears to be so in your case. Try changing flowers, e.g. a white carnation. The attached web site gives a procedure for carnations:

http://www.gfawesome.org/mad_science/activities/Tie_dye_flowers.html

Try doing a search on the term: "dye flowers" on www.google.com I think you will find a lot of "hits" and specific instructions.

Vince Calder



Click here to return to the Botany Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory