The natural cohesion of the water molecule (mini magnets joining) and the adhesion of water (attraction of water to other surfaces) to the sides of the xylem allows the water column to be drawn up the stem by transpirational pull. As the top water molecule evaporates into the atmosphere of the leaf it pulls the next molecule up.

Water from the xylem passes on into the cells of the spongy mesophyll, then into the intercellular air spaces as water vapour, then by diffusion it moves out of the leaf via the stomata into the outside air.