One example of imbibition that we can find in nature is the absorption of water by hydrophilic colloids. Matrix potential contributes significantly to water in such substances. Examples of plant material which exhibit imbibition are dry seeds before germination.
Different types of organic substances have different imbibing capacities. Proteins have a very high imbibing capacity, starch less and cellulose least. That is why proteinaceous pea seeds swell more on imbibition than starchy wheat seeds.
Imbibition of water increases the volume of the imbibant which results in imbibitional pressure. This pressure can be of tremendous magnitude. This fact can be demonstrated by the splitting of rocks by inserting dry wooden stalks in the crevices of rocks and soaking them in water, a technique used by early Egyptians to cleave stone blocks.