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Loss of water from a plant, mainly through the stomata (seestoma) of leaves. Darkness, internal water deficit, and extremes of temperature tend to close stomata and decrease transpiration; illumination, ample water supply, and optimum temperature cause stomata to open and increase transpiration. Its exact significance is disputed; its roles in providing the energy to transport water in the plant and in aiding dissipation of the sun's heat (by cooling through evaporation of water) have been challenged. Since stomatal openings are necessary for the exchange of gases, transpiration has been considered by some to be merely an unavoidable phenomenon that accompanies the real functions of the stomata.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on transpiration, visit Britannica.com.