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Plasmolysis is the contraction of cells within plants due to the loss of water through osmosis. It is the cell membrane peeling off of the cell wall and the vacuole collapsing. Plasmolysis occurs when a plant cell's membrane shrinks away from its cell wall.

Plasmolysis is an effect of osmosis in plants. Osmosis is the net diffusion of water across a selectively permeable membrane, such as a cell membrane, from an area of higher water concentration to an area of lower water concentration.
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shrinking of cytoplasm in a living cell caused by loss of water
Source: Noland, George B. 1983. General Biology, 11th Edition. St. Louis, MO. C. V. Mosby ...

When a freshwater (or terrestrial) plant is placed in sea water, its cells quickly lose turgor and the plant wilts.

A phenomenon in walled cells in which the cytoplasm shrivels and the plasma membrane pulls away from the cell wall when the cell loses water to a hypertonic environment.
plastid ...

plasmolysis Osmotic condition in which a cell loses water to its outside environment.

plasmolysis (plaz-MAWL-ə-səs) n. Separation of the plasma membrane from the cell wall resulting from shrinkage of the cytoplasm in a hypertonic environment.
Online Biology Dictionary (PLAST-) ...

What is plasmolysis?
Osmosis: is the movement of water molecules from a region of water potential to a region of lower water potential through selectively permeable membrane. …
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plasmolysis The osmotic removal of water from the cytoplasm and vacuole, causing the cytoplasm to pull away from the cell wall and clump in the center.
plasmotomy Division of a multinucleate cell into multinucleate daughter cells, without accompanying mitosis.

Plasmolysis the shrinkage of cytoplasm away from the cell wall in plant cells
Plastid any of several pigmented cytoplasmic organelles found in plant cells and other organisms, having various
physiological functions, such as the synthesis and storage of food.

At this point the pressure potential is zero and so the water potential of the cell is equal to its solute potential. This process is called plasmolysis and the cell is said to be plasmolysed.

The rigid cell wall resists due to its own structural integrity
These opposing forces create turgidity, which keeps plants upright
If you don't water a plant, it wilts (this is called plasmolysis). Water it, the leaves will come back up do to the reestablishment of turgidity.

The cell wall provides no advantages when a plant cell is immersed in a hypertonic solution. As the plant cell loses water, its volume shrinks. Eventually, the plasma membrane pulls away from the wall. This plasmolysis is usually lethal.

See also: See also: What is the meaning of Lysis, Plant, Cells, Membrane, Cell wall?

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