ROOT PARTS and their FUNCTIONS - Summary with diagram

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The root of the plants is a part that is usually hidden from view because it is buried underground. However, despite the fact that the root goes unnoticed for the less expert, this organ is of vital importance for all plants, fulfilling such important and different functions as capturing nutrients or providing fixation.

If you want to learn more about the functions of the root and its different parts and types, join us in this article by Ecologist Verde on the root parts and their functions.

Root functions

As we just mentioned, the root of the plant fulfills several functions differentiated, being three main of them: absorption, fixation and conduction.

  • Absorption It consists of the assimilation of water and nutrients present in the soil through the root hairs of the root, which have the ability to absorb the substances that the plant needs. We recommend that you also know everything about Plant Nutrition with this other article.
  • Fixing It is carried out by the entire root organ and it is simply a matter of offering a firm anchor to the plant on the surface it is on. Usually this anchoring will be made in the ground or substrate, although some plants are fixed to other surfaces such as rocks or even other plants. Larger plants, such as tall trees, need deep and broad root systems to provide sufficient stability.
  • Driving, which is about the transport of water and minerals from the root hairs to the stem, which will take them where they are needed.

Parts of a root and the functions of each

The root structure It comprises different general parts, easy to differentiate:

  • Neck: To begin with, the part immediately buried below ground level is called the neck and is in charge of connecting the rest of the root system with the stem.
  • Branching area: after the neck we find the branching zone. It is located between the neck and the hairy area, and is characterized by being the area in which the roots branch out and create secondary roots with which to increase the land they cover.
  • Hairy area: it is found in the youngest areas of the root. In it are the absorbent hairs that are responsible for absorbing water and minerals. These have a life of up to three weeks and consist of a single cell. They are constantly formed at the end of the root, so those farthest from the end are longer. They can be arranged in a density of up to 2,000 hairs per cm2 and measure up to 1,500 micrometers in length.
  • Meristem: next to the piliferous zone, we find the meristem or cell division zone, which is where the growth of the root itself occurs.
  • Caliptra: finally, the cap is the end of the root. It is a kind of soft cover, whose function is to protect the root while it makes its way through the subsoil. Its botanical name is Caliptra, and it is very difficult to differentiate with the naked eye. It is found around the meristematic tissue, which is growing, mechanically protecting it from friction and damage that the subsoil could cause. Due to the wear it suffers, caused by friction between the root and the soil, its cells are constantly destroyed, but are replaced at the same rate by those produced in the cell division zone or meristem.

In the scheme of the cover you will be able to see well these parts of the well differentiated roots. These are the most general parts of the root, but in a more specific sense, the parts of the root differ in another way, more specifically, according to the types of root tissues:

  • Epidermis: it is the most superficial layer of the root: its skin, as the name suggests. Its cells produce the root hairs responsible for the absorption of water and minerals.
  • Cortex: It is the layer following the epidermis. It is located under this and its most notable objective is to store nutrients in the form of starch. In addition, between its cells there are spaces that allow them to aerate, and therefore respiration.
  • Endodermis: In the innermost layer of the cortex and around the vascular tissue we find the endodermis. In it, a substance called suberin is produced, which allows the formation of the caspari band, a kind of waterproof barrier. Thanks to this, the water flows only inward.
  • Vascular cylinder: Finally, in the center is the stela or vascular cylinder, with the xylem and phloem adopting different distributions in it according to the characteristics of the specific type of plant.

In this diagram below you will be able to see these root tissues well. In addition, we encourage you to learn more about the Types of plant tissues with this other article.

Image: Slideplayer

Other types of roots and their functions

In addition to the three basic functions of roots, there are other root types that fulfill additional or specialized functions.

  • The root tubers create thickened areas that function as food reserve, storing a large amount of reserve nutrients in them.
  • Others are capable of releasing certain substances into the soil, either to eliminate competition from other plants or to help in the dissolution process of the soil, making it more fertile and rich.
  • Finally, some plants have the ability to develop a type of communication network under the ground between its roots. Thanks to it, they can share nutrients when a weak or sick individual needs them.

Expand this knowledge with this other post on the Types of roots.

Image: Google Sites Natural Sciences

If you want to read more articles similar to Root parts and their functions, we recommend that you enter our Biology category.

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