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Plant Structures

Problems

Roots

Stem and Trunk

Problem : What are the three major functions of plant roots?

Nutrient storage, water and mineral uptake (from soil), and stability (anchorage to substrate).

Problem : Describe taproots, fibrous roots, and adventitious roots. How are they different?

A taproot, characteristic of dicots, is a single dominant root from which smaller, secondary roots extend. Fibrous roots, a system composed of many small roots, have no single dominant root. Taproots stretch deep into the soil, while fibrous roots spread out close to the surface. Adventitious roots develop on vines after embryonic development and help plants cling to substrates other than the soil, such as a tree trunks.

Problem : What is meant by the "root" and the "shoot" of a plant?

All parts of the plant that lie beneath the soil are considered the "root" and all the parts above the soil (stem, leaves, flowers, etc.) are known as the "shoot."

Problem : What purpose do root hairs serve? Why are roots alone not sufficient to accomplish that task?

Root hairs absorb most of the water and minerals taken in by the plant. They are necessary because the huge number of tiny root hairs produce a very large total absorptive surface area, so that root hairs allow the plant to take in much larger quantities that the root alone could bring in.

Problem : What vascular tissue is responsible for passing the water and minerals taken in by the roots upward to the rest of the plant body?

Xylem.

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