Why Do Plants Have Sap?
Sap is the liquid that enables trees and other plants to live and grow. The roots of a plant draw water, along with dissolved minerals, from the soil. Tiny tubes in the plant’s stem carry the sap up to the leaves. Through a process called photosynthesis, special cells in the green leaves combine the mineral bearing sap with sunlight and air to make food for the plant.
The sap, which is enriched with plant food made by the leaves and minerals acquired from the soil, now moves to other parts of the plant where it is to be used or stored.
There are 3 kinds of sap namely: cell sap, phloem sap and xylem sap. A cell sap is composed of water. This type of sap is usually lost during the process of photosynthesis. Xylem sap contains mainly of water, nutrients, hormones and minerals while Phloem sap contains sugar aside from water and other nutrients and minerals.
Examples of plants with sap are sugarcane, rubber tree and maple tree. The sap of a rubber tree is used for making various rubber products and latex. The sap of a maple tree is used to make maple syrup. Sugarcane also produces sap which is used for making sugar and vinegar.
In some countries harvesting the early spring sap of birch trees (so called “birch juice”) for human consumption is common practice; the sap can be used fresh or fermented and contains xylitol.
Preparations made from the sap of Aloe vera are widely used for their purported soothing, moisturizing, and healing properties. Aloe vera gel is also used as an ingredient in commercially available lotions, yogurt, beverages, and some desserts. Just like how blood circulates in our body, sap also circulates inside the plants in order to distribute the food, water and minerals needed by the plant to survive.