The Q&A Archives: Why Are The Bottom Of Radish Stems Pink?

Question: My 4th grade class has been growing radishes to see how population density affects plant growth. They are curious about why the bottoms of the radish stems are pink. Can you help us? Thank you!

Answer: You might use this question to spawn a new experiment. There?s a variety of radishes called ?Easter Egg?; they produce roots of several different colors (white, pink, red, and purple). You might plant some to see if the color of the root is related to any tinting at the base of the stem. At the end of the experiment, you can have your ?test subjects? in a salad!

Of course, if you?re looking for a definitive answer, I?m afraid I haven?t been able to find information on why radish stems have pink pigment. But in nature, most things happen for a good reason, and plant pigments exist because they are of some use to the plant. For instance, chlorophyll, the green pigment in plants, captures light for use in photosynthesis.

Your students aren?t alone in wondering why that pink color is there. Plant scientists are trying figuring out how other colored pigments, such as orange carotenes, yellow xanthophylls, and purple-red anthocyanins, benefit plants.

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