What Role Do Plants Play in the Water Cycle?

By Michele Vrouvas; Updated April 24, 2017
Check the soil moisture before watering any plant.

Plants remain one of the chief sources of water in the ecosystem. Through an invisible process known as transpiration, plants remain active players in the water cycle because they absorb ground water with their stems and return it to the environment through their leaves.


Water that plants collect is used in photosynthesis and returns to the atmosphere by transpiration.


When water returns to the atmosphere by evaporation, plants add much-needed moisture to environments experiencing dry periods.


Through their roots, plants absorb water and nutrients from the soil and distributes it throughout the stems and leaves. Evaporation takes place on the surfaces of leaves.


Geography may play a key role in determining how much water plants are capable of transpiring. For example, colder climates inhibit transpiration by causing the cells, which release water, to close.

Fun Fact

At certain times, a plant’s leaves transpire gallons of water on a daily basis. The leaves of an oak tree are capable of transpiring 40,000 gallons of water each year.

About the Author

Michele Vrouvas has been writing professionally since 2007. In addition to articles for online publications, she is a litigation paralegal and has been a reporter for several local newspapers. A former teacher, Vrouvas also worked as a professional cook for five years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Caldwell College.