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  • Gloria Hoffner

Houseplants in Action

As winter draws near and plants move indoors to avoid frost, here is a way to demonstrate how plants generate oxygen! Materials: Glass jar, matches, water, funnel, glass experiment tube,waterweed shoots and a sunny windowsill. Process: Place waterweed shoots in the jar and invert the funnel over the spouts. Fill the jar with water and place the glass tube opening over the opening of the funnel. Place the jar in a sunny spot for three days and observe.

Result: Plants use sunlight to make starch from water and carbon dioxide. This process creates oxygen which is collected in the glass tube. When you remove the glass tube, light a match and place the lite match inside the glass tube, the flame will glow from the oxygen created by the plant. Oxygen is a byproduct released when plants engage in photosynthesis, the process they use to produce their own food. The chemical events that occur during photosynthesis are complex. The result is that six carbon dioxide molecules and six water molecules become six glucose molecules and six oxygen molecules. The word \"photosynthesis\" means making things with light.

Robert Rister, Author of Healing without Medication says, "A typical houseplant leaf produces about 5 ml of oxygen per hour (more when it is growing, less when carbon dioxide levels are higher, that is, the more oxygen you breathe in and carbon dioxide you breathe out, the less oxygen plants make, less at night). A typical human needs about 50 liters of oxygen per hour. That translates to 10,000 houseplant leaves, or maybe 500 to 1000 houseplants to support one human.


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