Wednesday, July 1, 2009

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!

29 comments:

karen said...

So beautiful, all of it, the bottles of dye, the sprays of lace, just lovely! Warm wishes for a joyful holiday weekend!

MUS said...

think the kids will love to experiment with this.

jumbleberryjam said...

BRILLIANT!! So fun. I've never been a big fan of fireworks. But this kind, I can totally get in to!! :-)

Joyce said...

This is a fun idea and so perfect with the 4th right around the corner. xoxo

Bona Fide Mama said...

simply stunning!

Anonymous said...

cool, colorful, flowery, 4th of julyish, getting messy, fun, funny and pretty...

Joy said...

Those turned out great! You made a much bigger presentation out of it than I did. I just slapped a few pics up and said "hey, they did this." :D I'm glad your girls enjoyed it!

Jane said...

Those came out great-thanks for the scientific explanation too!

Mom, M.Ed. (Jessica) said...

We used to that at my grandma's house--Benjamin & I just visited her grave today, so your post has made me a bit teary-eyed.

Benjamin left a tiny pine cone and two acorns on her gravestone--it was just precious.

Thanks for this post--it made me both smile & want to cry. :)

Nicole said...

Wow! Thanks for the great idea. I'm going to try this with my kids next week. :)

Maria said...

Fabulous!! We are doing this tomorrow!!

renee @ FIMBY said...

This is amazing, yet again. Not surprising from you. Can't wait to try this. We made popsicles today inspired by your previous post.

Jill said...

Now I have something cool to do with my overrun yard full of Queen Anne's Lace!! Thanks!

The Magic Onions said...

Looks Sooooo pretty! Just like fireworks!

pucktricks said...

Oh! I so need to do this, what an incredibly cool idea!

Anne said...

What a great idea! I've never tried this with flowers - I can't wait to find out why not all of the colors worked. Hmmm...

docwitch said...

That looks so pretty - I imagine a child would be utterly entranced by the transformation that takes place with it.

Oh, and I adore Queen Anne's Lace - it has such a gorgeous, delicate, summery old world vibe.

april said...

thank you for this colorful idea. my son will love it. i'm sure. wish you a sunny day*

Le blÖg d'Ötli said...

Beautiful and poetic idea !!! I'll try !

Tara said...

Such dramatic results with this!
The science is pretty cool too.

Sherry said...

These are beautiful!

caitlin said...

Ooh so pretty. I seriously want to try this now. I can't wait to look at your blogs when I have kids!

earthycrunchy said...

we've only done this with celery and carnations. Your version is a million times more beautiful, especially with the rainbow of colored water. Have a happy 4th!

kristen said...

Wow! Beautiful!!!

Shona said...

wonderful project! we will be doing this for sure, thanks!

Anonymous said...

I first did this 40 years ago with my Grandma and only thought to do it for the first time with my daughters last summer. We left all the colors sit for 3-4 days. The purple got a nice pale shade after that amount of time, but the red had only a slight pink tinge. We don't have any QA's LAce blooming here yet, but I am looking forward to doing it again this summer.
Melissa M

Emily said...

I used to love doing this when I was a kid. I never thought to do it with any other flower but daisies or roses though. I also really appreciate the scientific explanation behind it too. I remember learning about cohesion and adhesion in my very favorite college class. It was life science for el. ed. teachers. We have a firework flower in our garden at home. Since I'm not there to take a picture, here's a link.
http://image02.webshots.com/2/1/14/56/43911456nkhMan_fs.jpg

PS. Looks like you have a fetish for glass bottles and jars like I do!

isabelle said...

what a fun idea, I will try this summer for sure !!!

kenan and tree said...

Great post, and beautiful pictures! My son has been asking to dye flowers this way, after he read about it in a book. i didn't think we had any flowers it would work with...but we have queen ann's lace! Wohoo! He will be thrilled. :)