The roots are the part of a plant that attaches it to the ground or support. The function of sources in plants is to convey water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibers.

While roots lie underground in most plants, they can also be aerial, especially in water areas.

Four main functions of Roots

Roots have four key functions that help them sustain the plant they support. The functions of roots in plants include:

  • Absorbing rainwater and releasing its nutrients.
  • Structurally supporting the plant in the soil, performing as an anchor.
  • Storing food and nutrients.
  • Aiding plant reproduction.

Working in conjunction with the stem, which transports and distributes the nutrients throughout the plant, roots make such crucial chemical processes as photosynthesis, branching, and flowering possible.

What are Roots made up of?

For roots to fulfill their vitally important role within plant structure, they must have anatomy fit for purpose.

These different parts of the root system help them to work as efficiently as they can:

  • The apical Meristem – located at the tip of the root- is the growth tissue protected from harm by a root cap.
  • Epidermis – this is the ‘skin’ of the plant and is responsible for the production of root hairs. These hairs are responsible for mineral intake.
  • Vascular Cylinder is the core of the root and is surrounded by the cortex.
  • Pericycle – this is where the lateral roots spring from.

Different Types of Roots

Just as there are different types of plants, there are also other types of roots. A plant with roots will have one of two different root types

  • Fibrous Roots- a plant with roots of this type will grow a wide network of long thin sources under the surface, although these roots don’t grow too deeply into the soil. While this does mean that plants with fibrous roots aren’t anchored in the ground quite as well as plants with other root types, the large number of sources does provide stability. As a result, plants with fibrous roots are  This wide network of roots also means that the plant has a much greater reach when extracting water and nutrients from the soil. Examples of plants with this type of root include grass, wheat, and rosemary.
  • Tap Roots- a plant with roots of this type will grow a thick ‘main’ seed straight down, deep into the soil. From this central root, many smaller roots will grow laterally off it. Sources of this type ensure that the plant is firmly anchored in the ground. Examples of plants with Tap Roots include parsley and coriander. Some plants will grow an especially thick tap root and store nutrients. Examples of this include carrots and parsnips.
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