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Preliminaries to Botany

History of BOTANY

The Concept of PLANTS and SCIENTIFIC

History of Botany
• Botany is the systematic and scientific
study of plants
• The field focuses on plants’ structure and
biochemistry, the physiological processes
that occur in them, as their relationships
with the environment and other
History – 4th century B.C.E.

• Both Aristotle and Theophrastus

got involved in identifying plants
and describing them
• Theophrastus was hailed as the
“Father of Botany”
History – A. D. 60
• Dioscorides – De Materia Medica
• This work described a thousand
medicines, majority of which came from
• For 1500 years, it remained the
guidebook on medicines in the Western
world until the invention of the
compound microscope
History – 17th century
• Early 17th century – for a brief period the field of
Botany temporarily became stagnant but revived
during the European Renaissance
• 1640 – Johannes van Helmont in his experiment
measured the uptake of water in a tree
• 1655 – Anton van Leeuwenhoek saw a live cell
under a microscope. Before his discovery, the
existence of single-celled organisms were
unknown and initially were met with skepticism
History – 17th century
• 1686 – John Ray published his book, Historia
Plantarum. This became an important step
towards modern taxonomy
• 1694 – Rudolf Camerarius established plant
sexuality in his book entitled De Sexu
Plantarum Epistola
– “No ovules of plants could ever develop into seeds
from the female style and ovary without first
being prepared by the pollen from the stamens,
the male sexual organs of the plant”
History – 18th century
• 1727 – Stephen Hales established plant
physiology as a science. He publishes his
experiments dealing with the nutrition and
respiration of plants in his publication entitled
Vegetable Staticks. He developed techniques
to measure area, mass, volume, temperature,
pressure, and gravity in plants
History – 18th century
• 1758 – Carolus Linnaeus (Carl von Linne), the “Father
of Taxonomy”, introduced the science of taxonomy
which deals with the identification, nomenclature,
description and classification of organisms
• Later part of the 18th century – Joseph Priestly laid
the foundation for the chemical analysis of plant
metabolism. His work Experiments and Observations
on Different Kinds of Air in 1774 demonstrated that
green plants absorb “fixed air” from the atmosphere,
give off “dephlogisticated air”
History – 19th century
• 1818 – chlorophyll (C₅₅H₇₂O₅N₄Mg) was
• 1840 – Further study of plant diseases due to the
potato blight that killed potato crops in Ireland
• 1859 – Charles Darwin proposed his theory of
evolution and published On the Origin of Species
by Means of Natural Selection. Around the same
time, Gregor Mendel was performing
experiments on the inheritance among pea
plants. Mendel later became the “Father of
History – 19th century
• 1862 – the exact mechanism of
photosynthesis was discovered when it was
observed that starch was formed in green cells
only in the presence of light
History – 20th century up to the
• 1903: Two types of chlorophyll were discovered
• 1936 – Alexander Oparin demonstrated the
mechanism of the synthesis of organic matter
from inorganic molecules
• 1940s – Ecology became a separate discipline.
Technology has helped specialists in botany to
see and understand the three-dimensional nature
of cells, and genetic engineering of plants.
History – 20th century up to the
• The study of plants continues as
botanists try to both understand the
structure, behavior, and cellular activities
of plants in order to:
– Develop better crops,
– Find new medicines, and
– Explore ways of maintaining an ecological
balance on Earth to continue to sustain
both plant and animal life
The Concept of PLANTS and
• Are multicellular organisms in the
kingdom Plantae that utilize
photosynthesis to make their own
food (autotrophs)
• Have important role in the world’s
Basic Plant Characteristics
• Autotrophs – they produce their own food
• Plants are primary producers in many
• Plants are multicellular organisms with
eukaryotic cells
– Eukaryotic cells – large cells with true nucleus and
other organelles that perform specific functions
• Many plants have vascular tissue (xylem and
• Plants reproduce both sexually and asexually
Scientific Method
• Earlier approaches to studying nature
– Religious methods – the universe is assumed to
either be created or contained deities
– Speculative philosophy – ancient Greek
philosophers analyze the world by thinking about
it logically. This study did not involved verification.
A speculation is a statement that cannot be
proven or disproven
Scientific Method Teachings
1. Source of information. All accepted information
can be derived from carefully documented and
controlled observations or experiments
2. Phenomena that can be studied. Only tangible
phenomena and objects are studied.
3. Constancy and universality. Physical forces that
control the world are constant through time and
are the same everywhere
4. Basis. The fundamental basis of the scientific
method is skepticism, the principle of never
being certain of a conclusion, of always being
able to consider new evidence.
Scientific Method
• The series of steps that first involved asking a
question, then formulating a hypothesis,
followed by conducting experiments, and
finally developing a theory.
• A hypothesis is simply a tentative, unproven
explanation for something that has been
observed. It may not be the correct
explanation – experimentation will determine
whether it is correct or incorrect
Fundamental Concepts Studying
• Plant metabolism is based on the principle of
chemistry and physics.
• Plants must have means of storing and using
• Plants reproduce, passing their genes and
information on to their descendants.
• Genes, and the information they contain,
Fundamental Concepts Studying
• Plants must survive in their own environment.
Adaptation in the environment where they
live. Plants do not exist in isolation
• Plants are highly integrated organisms.
• An individual plant is the temporary result of
the interaction of genes and environment
Diversification of Plant Study
• Plant Anatomy – study of the internal
structure of plants.
– Marcello Malphigi – Italian plant anatomist who
discovered various tissues in stems and roots
– Nehemiah Grew – an Englishman who described
the structure of wood more precisely
• Plant physiology – concerned with plant
functioning and processes established by J.B.
Van Helmont
Diversification of Plant Study
• Plant Taxonomy – involves naming, describing,
and classifying organisms
• Plant Systematics – the science of developing
methods for grouping organisms
• Plant Geography – the study of how and why
plants are distributed where they are
• Plant Ecology – the study of the interaction of
plants with one another and with their
Diversification of Plant Study
• Plant Morphology – the study of the form and
structure of plants
• Cell biology – previously called cytology is the
study of cell structure and function
• Economic botany and ethnobotany – focuses
on practical uses of plants and plant products
Cells (History)
• Robert Hooke – an English physicist credited
as the first scientist who observed cells in thin
slices of cork
• Robert Brown – an English botanist discovered
that all cells contain a relatively large body
that he called the nucleus
• Matthias Schleiden – a German botanist
observed a smaller body within the nucleus
and called it nucleolus
Cells (History)
• Schleiden and Theodor Schwann – explained
more clearly the significance of cells and were
credited with developing the cell theory
• Rudolf Virchow – a German scientist argued
that every cell comes from a preexisting cell
and that there is no spontaneous generation
of cells
Cells (History)
• Louis Pasteur – a French scientist proved that
natural alcoholic fermentation involves the
activity of yeast cells
• Eduard Buchner – accidentally discovered that
yeast cells did not need to be alive for
fermentation to occur. He found that extracts
from yeast cells would convert sugar to
• Light microscope – provide basic information
about cell structure and some of the bodies
within the cell.
– Increase magnification as light passes through a series
of transparent lenses made of various type of glass or
calcium fluoride crystals
– Of two types:
• compound microscope – requires most material being
examined to be sliced thinly enough for light to pass through
• dissecting microscope – allows three-dimensional viewing of
opaque objects
– Resolution – the capacity of lenses to separate closely
adjacent tiny objects
• Electron microscope – uses a beam of electrons
produced when high-voltage electricity is passed
through a wire.
– Transmission electron microscope – can produce
magnification of 200, 000 or more times, but the
material to be viewed must be sliced extremely thin
and introduced into the column’s vacuum. Thus, living
objects can’t be observed
– Scanning electron microscope – 30 – 10, 000 times
magnification, but surface detail of thick objects can
be observed when a scanner makes the object visible
on a cathode tube like a television screen
• Gerd Binnig and Heinrich Rohrer was awarded
the Nobel Prize in physics (1986) for their
invention in 1982 of a scanning tunnelling
Prokaryotic vs. Eukaryotic Cells
• Prokaryotic cells – cells without nuclei
• Eukaryotic cells – have nuclei and contain
organelles (membrane bound structures with
specialized functions)
• Endosymbiotic theory – some cell
components evolved when a large eukaryotic
cell engulfed independent prokaryotes
Cell Structure and Communication
• Plant cells typically have a cell wall (rigid
boundaries of cell) surrounding the protoplasm,
which consists of all the living components of a
• Plasma membrane – bounds the living
components in the cell
• Cytoplasm – all cellular components between the
plasma membrane and nucleus
• Cytosol – soup-like fluid within the cytoplasm in
which organelles are dispersed
The Cell Wall
• The most obvious structure of the cell seen in
a microscope because it defines the shape of
the cell.
• Diversity of cell walls tell a story about the
structure and function of each cell.
• Cellulose – the main structural component of
cell walls. Composed of 100 – 15, 000 glucose
monomers in long chains and is the most
abundant polymer on earth
The Cell Wall
• Cell walls typically contain a matrix of
hemicellulose (gluelike substance that holds
cellulose fibrils together), pectin (the organic
material that gives stiffness to fruit jellies),
glycoproteins (proteins that have sugars
associated with their molecules)
The Cell Wall
• Middle lamella – consists of a layer of pectin,
produced when new cell walls are formed.
• Secondary walls which are produced inside the
primary walls are derived from primary walls by
thickening and inclusion of lignin, a complex
• Secondary cell walls of plants generally contain
more cellulose than primary cell walls. During
formation, cellulose microfibrils become
embedded in lignin
Communication Between Cells
• Plasmodesmata – tiny strands of cytoplasm
that extend between the cells through minute
openings where fluids and dissolved
substances can pass
Cellular Components
• The Plasma Membrane
• The Nucleus
• The Endoplasmic Reticulum
• Ribosomes
• Dictyosomes
• Plastids
• Mitochondria
• Microbodies
• Vacuoles
• The Cytoskeleton
The Plasma Membrane
• Uses: control the movement of substances
into and out of the cell, involved in the
production and assembly of cellulose.
• It is the outer boundary of the living part of
the cell and is roughly eight-millionths of a
millimeter thick
• It is composed of phospholipids arranged in
two layers, with proteins interspersed
The Nucleus
• Uses: it is the control center of the cell and a
dispatcher that sends coded messages from
the DNA in the nucleus with information that
will ultimately be used in other parts of the
cell. It also stores hereditary information,
which is passed from cell to cell as new cells
are formed.
The Nucleus
• Bounded by two membranes which together
constitute the nuclear envelope
• The nucleus contains a granular-appearing fluid
called nucleoplasm, which is packed with short
fibers. Suspended in the nucleoplasm is the
nucleolus which is composed primarily of RNA
and associated proteins
• Chromatin – thin strands that coils when a
nucleus divides becoming shorter and thicker,
and in their condensed condition are called
The Endoplasmic Reticulum
• Uses: facilitates cellular communication and
channeling of materials and the primary site of
membrane synthesis within the cell
• It is an enclosed space consisting of a network of
flattened sacs and tubes that form channels
throughout the cytoplasm
• Rough ER have ribosomes on its outer surface
and is primarily associated with the synthesis,
secretion, or storage of proteins
• Smooth ER is associated with lipid secretion
• Use: help initiate protein synthesis by linking
amino acids
• Are tiny bodies that are visible with the aid of
electron microscope
• Each ribosome is composed of two subunits
that are composed of RNA and proteins
• Unlike other organelles, ribosomes have no
bounding membranes
• Uses: involved in the modification of CHO
attached to proteins that are synthesized and
packaged in the ER. Complex polysaccharides are
also assembled in the dictyosomes and collect in
small vesicles.
• Considered to be the “post office” of the cell. It
collects, packages, and delivers substances.
• Stacks of flattened discs or vessels often bound
by branching tubules that originate from the ER
• Within the chloroplast are numerous grana,
which are formed from membranes and have the
appearance of stacks of coins with double
• Within each granum are thylakoids, part of an
overlapping and continuous membrane system
suspended in the liquid portion of the chloroplast
• The thylakoid membranes contain green
chlorophyll and other pigments
• It is within the thylakoids that the first steps of
photosynthesis occur
• Stroma – the liquid portion of the chloroplast
which contains enzymes involved in
• Each chloroplast contains a small, circular DNA
molecule that encodes for production of
certain proteins related to photosynthesis
• Another type of plastid found in some cells of
more complex plants.
• Chromoplasts are yellow, orange, or red in
color due to the presence of carotenoid
pigments. These pigments are lipid soluble.
• Another type of plastid common to cells of
higher plants. They are essentially colorless
and include amyloplasts, which synthesize
starches, and elaioplasts which synthesize oils.
• If exposed to light, some leucoplasts will
develop into chloroplasts, and vice versa.
• Small, pale green, or colorless organelles
having roughly the size and form of
• They are simpler in internal structure than
plastids and have fewer thylakoids.
• Often referred to as the powerhouses of the
cell, for it is within them that energy is
released from organic molecules by the
process of cellular respiration
• Each mitochondrion is bounded by two
membranes, with the inner membrane
forming numerous platelike folds called
• Small, spherical organelles distributed
throughout the cytoplasm which contain
specialized enzymes and are bounded by a single
• Peroxisomes are generally found associated with
chloroplasts that contain enzyme needed by
some plants to survive during hot conditions in a
process called photerespiration
• Glyoxisomes are usually located near the
mitochonria and contain enzymes that aid in the
conversion of fats to CHO
• The vacuolar membrane, which constitute the
inner bondaries of the living cell, are similar in
structure and function to plasma membranes.
• Uses: maintenance of cell pressure and pH,
storage of cell metabolites and waste products
• Cell sap is a watery fluid inside the vacuole helps
maintain pressures within the cell and contains
dissolved substances such as salts, sugars, organic
acids, and small quantities of soluble proteins
• Anthocyanins are water soluble pigments
found in vacuoles responsible for the colors of
flowers and some reddish leaves
• Vacuoles are also involved in the recycling of
certain materials within the cell and even aid
in the breakdown and digestion of organelles,
such as plastids and mitochondria
The Cytoskeleton
• Involved in movement within a cell and in a cell’s
architecture and constructed mainly of two kinds
of fibers – microtubules and microfilaments
• Microtubules control the addition of cellulose to
the cell wall and are also involved in cell division,
movement of cytoplasmic organelles and of
vesicles containing cell-wall components
assembled by dictyosomes, and movement of the
tiny flagella and cilia
The Cytoskeleton
• Microtubules are unbranched, thin, hollow,
tubelike structures that resembles tiny straws.
They are composed of proteins called
tubulins. They are also found in the special
fibers that form the spindles and
The Cytoskeleton
• Microfilaments play a major role in the
contraction and movement of cells in
multicellular organisms
Cellular Reproduction
• The Cell Cycle
– An orderly series of cell division
– This cycle is usually divided into interphase and
– Mitosis itself is being subdivided into four phases
(prophase, metaphase, anaphase, telophase)
– The length of the cycle varies with the kind of
organism involved, type of cell within the organism,
temperature, and other environmental factors
– In most instances, interphase occupies 90% or more of
the time it takes to complete the cycle.
• Living cells that are not dividing are said to be in
interphase, a period during which chromosomes
are not visible with light microscopes.
• Three consecutive periods of intense activity take
place during interphase: gap 1 (G₁), synthesis (S),
and gap 2 (G₂)
• The gap 1 period is relatively lengthy and begins
immediately after a nucleus has divided. During
this period, the cell increases in size, ribosomes,
RNA, and substances that either inhibit or
stimulate the synthesis period that follows are
• During the synthesis period, the unique
process of DNA replication takes place
• In the gap 2 period, mitochondria and other
organelles divide, and microtubules and other
substances directly involved in mitosis are
produced. Coiling and condensation of
chromosomes also begin during gap 2.
• In flowering plants, conifers, and other higher
plants, mitosis occurs in specific regions, or
tissues called meristems
• Meristems are found in the root and stem tips
and in a thin, perforated, and branching cylinder
of tissue called the vascular cambium, located in
the interior of some stems and roots.
• In some herbaceous and most woody plants, a
second meristem similar in form to the cambium
lies between the cambium and the outer bark.
This is called the cork cambium
• When mitosis occurs, the number of
chromosomes in the nucleus, whether small or
large, makes no difference in the way the process
takes place
• The daughter cells that result from mitosis each
have exactly the same number of chromosomes
and distribution of DNA as parent cell
• Mitosis is initiated with the appearance of a
ringlike preprophase band of microtubules just
beneath the plasma membrane
• Main features: (1) the chromosomes become
shorter and thicker, and their two-stranded
nature becomes apparent; and (2) the nuclear
envelope dissociates, and the nucleolus
• Preprophase band is a narrow bundle around
the nucleus formed from microtubules and
microfilaments inside the plasma membrane
just before prophase starts
• The beginning of prophase is marked by the
appearance of the chromosomes as faint threads
in the nucleus. These chromosomes gradually coil
or fold into thicker and shorter structures, and
soon, two strands, or chromatids.
• The chromatids are themselves independently
coiled and are identical to each other. The coils
appear to tighten and condense until the
chromosomes have become relatively short, thick
and rodlike, with areas called centromeres
holding each pair of chromatids together
• A kinetochore, which is a dense region composed
of a protein complex, is located on the outer
surface of each centromere.
• As prophase progresses, the nucleolus gradually
becomes less distinct and eventually
disintegrates. By the end of prophase, spindle
fibers consisting of microtubules have developed
• At the conclusion of prophase, the nuclear
envelope has been reabsorbed in the ER and has
totally fragmented
• The main feature of metaphase is the
alignment of chromosomes in a circle midway
between the two poles around the
circumference of the spindle and in the same
plane as that previously occupied by the
preprophase band.
• At the end of metaphase, the centromeres
holding the two strands of each chromosome
together separate lenghtwise.
• It is the briefest of the phases – involves the
sister chromatids of each chromosome
separating and moving to opposite poles.
• The chromatids, which after separation at
their centromeres are called daughter
• The five main features of telophase are: (1)
each group of daughter chromosomes
becomes surrounded by a reformed nuclear
envelope; (2) daughter chromosomes become
longer and thinner and finally become
indistinguishable; (3) nucleoli reappear; (4)
many of the spindle fibers disintegrate; and
(5) a cell plate forms
• During telophase, the spindle microtubules
gradually break down, and a set of shorter
fibers develops in the region of the equator
between the daughter nuclei. This set of fibers
is called a phragmoplast
• Dictyosomes produce small vesicles containing
raw materials for the cell wall and
membranes. The microtubules trap these
vesicles which then fuse together into one
large, flattened but hollow structure called a
cell plate
Higher Plant Cells vs. Animal Cells
Higher Plant Cells Animal Cells

Cell Wall  

Plasmodesmata  

Cell plate formation  

during telophase
Centrioles  

Plastids  

Vacuoles Often large Either small or

Plant Tissues
Plant Tissues
• Meristematic tissues
– Apical meristems
• Primary tissues
– Lateral meristems
• Secondary tissues
– Intercalary meristems
• Tissues produced by meristems
– Simple tissues
• Parenchyma
• Collenchyma
• Sclerenchyma
– Complex tissues
• Xylem
• Phloem
• Epidermis
• Periderm
• Secretory cells and tissues
Meristematic tissues
• Meristems are permanent regions of growth
for plants where cells actively divide
• New cells are typically small, six-sided, boxlike
structures, each with a proportionately large
• As the cells mature, differentiation happens
and assume different shapes and sizes
depending on their function
Apical Meristems
• Meristematic tissues found at or near the tips
of roots and shoots, which tend to increase in
length (primary growth)
• Three primary meristems: protoderm, ground
meristem, procambium
• The tissues these primary meristems produce
are called primary tissues
Lateral Meristems
• Produce tissues that increase the girth of
roots and stems. Such growth is termed as
secondary growth
• Vascular cambium and cork cambium produce
secondary tissues
• Vascular cambium
– Support and conduction
• Cork cambium
– Lies outside of the vascular cambium, just inside
the outer bark
Intercalary Meristems

• The intercalary meristems

develop at intervals along stems,
where, like the tissues produced
by apical meristems, their tissues
add to stem length.
• Composed of parenchyma cells which are the
most abundant of the cell types and are found
in almost all major parts of higher plants
• They tend to have large vacuoles and may
contain starch grains, oils, tannins, crystals,
and various other secretions
• Parenchyma tissue with extensive connected
air spaces is referred to as aerenchyma
• Parenchyma cells containing numerous
chloroplasts are collectively referred to as
chlorenchyma tissue which function mainly in
• Parenchyma tissues without chloroplasts
function mostly in food or water storage
• Transfer cells – found in nectaries of flowers
and in carnivorous plants, where they play a
role in transferring dissolved substances
between adjacent cells
• Collenchyma cells often occur just beneath
the epidermis
• They provide flexible support for both growing
organs and mature organs, such as leaves and
floral parts
• Consists of cells that have thick, tough, secondary
walls, normally impregnated with lignin.
• Two forms: sclereids and fibers
• Sclereids – aka stone cells accounts for slightly
gritty texture of pears, hardness of nut shells, pits
of peaches
• Fibers – usually much longer than they are wide
and have proportionately tiny cavity or lumen, in
the center of the cell
Complex Tissues
• Xylem and phloem function primarily in the
transport of water, ions, and soluble food
throughout the plant
• Periderm – comprises the outer bark of
woody plants, consists mostly of cork cells
and contains pockets of parenchyma-like cells
• A complex tissue that is an important
component of the “plumbing” and storage
systems of a plant and is the chief conducting
tissue throughout all organs for water and
minerals absorbed by the roots
• Consist of combination of parenchyma cells,
fibers, vessels, tracheids, and ray cells
• Vessels – long tubes composed of individual
cells called vessel elements, that have thick
secondary cell walls and are open at each end
• Tracheids – no openings similar to vessels but
have pits wherever two tracheids are in
contact with one another. Pits allow water to
pass from cell to cell
• Ray cells – function in food storage
• Conducts dissolved food materials produced
by photosynthesis throughout the plant
• Two types: sieve tube members and
companion cells
• Living sieve tube members contain a polymer
called callose
• Outermost layer of all young plant organs
• Most epidermal cells secrete a fatty substance
called cutin that forms a protective layer
called the cuticle. Wax is secreted on top of
the cuticle.
• In leaves, the epidermal cell walls
perpendicular to the surface often assume
bizarre shapes like a jigsaw puzzle
• In roots, produce tubular extensions called
root hairs which increases its absorptive area
• Leaves have small pores, the stomata,
bordered by specialized epidermal cells called
guard cells
• Some epidermal cells may be modified as
glands that secrete protective or other
• In woody plants, the epidermis is sloughed off
and replaced by a periderm after the cork
cambium begins producing new tissues that
increase the girth of the stem or root
• Constitutes the outer bark and is primarily
composed of somewhat rectangular and boxlike
cork cells
• Lenticles – pockets of tissues protruding through
the surface of the periderm that function in gas
exchange between the air and the interior of the
Secretory Cells and Tissues
• Often derived from parenchyma which include
those that secrete nectar in flowers, oils in
citrus, mint, and many other leaves; mucilage
in the glandular hairs of sundews and other
insect-trapping plants; latex in members of
several plant families; resins in coniferous
plants such as pine trees.
Plant Roots
• Roots anchor trees/plants firmly in
the soil
• Roots absorb water and minerals
• Some roots store water or food
Development of Roots
• When a seed germinates, the tiny, rootlike
radicle, a part of the embryo (immature plant)
within it, grows out and develops into the first
• The radicle may develop into a thick, tapered
taproot, from which thinner branch roots arise or
many adventitious roots may arise from the stem
• Fibrous root system develops from the
adventitious roots
Root Structure

• The four regions or zones of

developing young roots:
–The root cap
–The region of cell division
–The region of elongation
–The region of maturation
The Root Cap
• Composed of a thimble-shaped mass of
parenchyma cells covering the tip of each root
• One of its function is to protect from damage
the delicate tissues behind it
The Region of Cell Division
• Composed of apical meristem in the center of
the root tip, produce the surrounding root cap
• The apical meristem subdivides into three
meristematic areas:
1. The protoderm – gives rise to an outer layer of
cells (epidermis)
2. The ground meristem – produces parenchyma
cells of the cortex
3. The procambium – produces primary xylem and
primary phloem
The Region of Elongation
• Merges with the apical meristem and extends
about 1 centimeter or less from the tip of the
• Here the cells become several times their
original length and somewhat wider
The Region of Maturation
• Sometimes called the region of differentiation
or root-hair zone
• The large number of hairlike, delicate
protuberances that develop from many of the
epidermal cells give the root-hair zone its
• The root hairs absorb water and minerals and
adhere tightly to soil particles
• The cells of the cortex, a tissue composed of
parenchyma cells lying between the epidermis
and inner tissues, mostly store food.
• The endodermis in the cortex’s inner
boundary consists of a single-layered cylinder
of compactly arranged cells whose walls are
impregnated with lignin and suberin.
• These substances form bands, called
Casparian strips, which prevent water from
passing through the permeable cell walls. This
barrier forces water and dissolved substances
to pass through the plasma membrane of the
endodermal cells of the plasmodesmata
Specialized Roots
• Food-storage roots
• Water-storage roots
• Propagative roots
• Pneumatophores
• Aerial roots
• Contractile roots
• Buttress roots
• Parasitic roots
Food-storage roots
• Enlarged roots that store large quantities of
starch and other carbohydrates, which may
later be used for extensive growth
• Examples: sweet potatoes and yams, water
hemplocks, dandelions, carrots, radishes,
Water-storage roots
• Huge water-storage roots present in plants
found those areas where there may be no
precipitation for several months of the year
• The water in the roots is apparently used by
the plants when the supply in the soil is
• Plants growing with their roots in water may
not have enough oxygen available for normal
respiration in their root cells.
• These plants develop special spongy roots
called pneumatophores which extend above
the water’s surface and enhance gas exchange
between the atmosphere and the subsurface
roots to which they are connected
Contractile roots
• Some herbaceous plants have contractile
roots that pull the plant deeper into the soil.
• More than 95% of land plants have various
fungi associated with their roots and these
associations are termed mycorrhizae
• The association is mutualistic