The Plant Body

Origin: Embryonic root or radicle

‡ Absorption of water and dissolved minerals ‡ Anchorage ‡ Food storage ‡ Transport of materials to and from the shoot ‡ specialized functions: photosynthesis & vegetative reproduction

1. Taproot ± w/ well developed primary root w/c is more prominent than branch roots (lateral roots) - found mostly in dicots - maximize support and storage

2. Fibrous ± w/ numerous long & slender lateral roots of about the same size & no dominant primary root - found mostly in monocots - maximize absorption

3. Adventitious ± roots that
form on organs other than roots (or other than the radicle) - similar in structures & functions as in primary roots - common in rhizomes of ferns, club mosses & horsetails; in corn (support) -primary means of vegetative reproduction

Comparison of Root Systems

Monocotyledonous & Dicotyledonous Flowering Plants

‡ Root cap ‡ Region of cell division ‡ Region of elongation ‡ Region of differentiation or maturation

a) Root cap - covers the root tip - senses environmental stimuli (eg. gravity - also produces mucigel b) Quiescent center - composed of inactive cells - organizes patterns of primary growth & replaces damaged cells of the adjacent meristem

Root Cap

2. Subapical Region 3 Zones
Zone of Cellular Division/Meristematic Region ‡ Zone of cellular elongation ‡ Zone of cellular maturation/ differentiation ‡

Subapical Region
3 Zones

Zone of Cellular Division/Meristematic Region
1. - small actively dividing cells (Apical meristem - cells divide once or twice per day)

‡ transitional meristems arise from the tips of roots and shoots: protoderm- forms the epidermis ground meristem - forms the ground tissue procambium - forms the primary phloem and xylem

Longitudinal section of onion root. The apical meristems are visible. The rapid growth And soft tissues make root tips excellent subjects for observing mitosis.

3 Zones
2. Zone of cellular elongation - larger, elongated
cells w/ less defined nucleus but w/ prominent vacuole

3 Zones
3. Zone of cellular maturation/different iation
differentiation takes place where vascular elements begin to form a central conductive core, the stele. ‡ root hairs develop as protuberances from epidermal cells ‡ cuticle exists on root but not on root hairs


Region of Maturation or Differentiation

Root Hairs-lateral Extensions of root Absorb water and nutrients from soil

3. Mature Region
a) Epidermis- outermost layer of cells forming the initial covering on a root b) Cortex- ground tissue that surrounds the vascular cylinder or stele 3 layers: 1. Hypodermis suberin lined with

2. Storage parenchyma cells 3. Endodermis cells packed tightly; lined with lignin & suberin called Casparian strip (diverts water & dissolved minerals into the cytoplasm & endodermal cells)

The Casparian Strip

Endodermis and Casparian strip.

‡ C. endodermis with Casparian strip (regulates the flow of water and dissolved substances).

c. Stele
Components 1. Pericycle produces branched roots (secondary or lateral roots) 2. Vascular tissues Xylem - form in alternating strands interior to the pericycle Phloem 3. Pith Monocots - parenchymatous pith Dicots - solid core of xylem

Lateral Roots Arise from the Pericycle of the Stele

Dicot Root in Cross Section

Dicot root in Cross Section

Monocot Root in Cross Section

Secondary Growth in Dicot Roots

Secondary Growth in Dicot Roots

World¶s Biggest Seed with Embryonic Root or Radicle
‡ The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh germinated this bowlingball-like coco de mer (Lodicea maldivica) palm. ‡ The seed weighs 35lb (16kg) and can produce a tree that will live up to 300 years. ‡ Scottish botanists put in a dark case, and now a root has developed. It will produce one leaf a year for the next few years. The tree will begin to flower in 20-30 years and produce its own seeds after another five to seven years (10-09-03).
‡ Source:

Lettuce plants grown hydroponically, in a greenhouse without soil. Plants grown by hydoponics need less water in arid regions. It may cost more, but becomes costeffective if fresh foods are imported long distances at great expense (especially when fuel prices are high).

Modified/Specialized Roots
1. Prop roots ± adventitious roots found above the ground (eg. Corn, poison ivy)

2. Food storage ± enlarged primary or secondary roots that stores food

Turnip + Cabbage = Rutabaga

3. Aerial roots ± absorb moisture from the atmosphere & also undergo photosynthesis (eg. Black mangrove, vanilla orchid, Philodendron) a)Pneumatophores

Cypress Knees Pneumatophores

b) Photosynthetic Roots- vanilla orchid, Philodendron

4. Buttress Roots-large or plantlike roots at the base of some tropical trees; help stabilize & support trees

5.Vegetative Roots- involved in asexual reproduction (eg. Cassava)

6. Symbiotic Rootsa) Noduled roots - roots w/ localized swellings in response to infection by nitrogen fixing bacterium Rhizobium - mutualistic association - in legumes

b) Mycorrhizal Roots
‡ Mycorrhizae or "fungus roots" where a symbiotic relationship forms between a plant and a fungus. ‡ fungus -provides protection against pathogens and increase surface area for the absorption of essential nutrients (e.g. phosphorous) ‡ plant - provides food for the fungus in the form of sugar and amino acids

7. Contractile roots- for movement by pulling a
plant into the more stable environment of deeper soil
Eg. Corm & bulb-forming plants (Lily & Gladiolus) - non-bulb-forming (ginseng & Dandelion) - common in monocots

‡ Absorption of materials occurs by:
1) osmosis 3) diffusion of solutes root hairs cortex 2) imbibition 4) active absorption pericycle xylem

‡ Passage of materials:

‡ Storage of food:
cortex (chiefly) parenchyma of stele (lesser extent)

‡ Growth:
length - tips of roots diameter- cambium bet xylem & phloem

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