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3.2.5: Chapter Summary

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    Roots help to anchor a plant, absorb water and minerals, and serve as storage sites for food. Taproots and fibrous roots are the two main types of root systems. In a taproot system, a main root grows vertically downward with a few lateral roots. Fibrous root systems arise at the base of the stem, where a cluster of roots forms a dense network that is shallower than a taproot. The growing root tip is protected by a root cap. The root tip has three main zones: a zone of cell division (cells are actively dividing), a zone of elongation (cells increase in length), and a zone of maturation (cells differentiate to form different kinds of cells). The root's ground tissue contains cortex and pith while its vascular tissue contains xylem and phloem. Monocots and eudicots have different organization of their vascular tissues, with the monocot vascular tissue organized into a characteristic ring around the central pith while the eudicot vascular tissue forms an "X" shape in the center of the root and lacks a pith. Many roots have secondary growth as well as primary growth. Secondary growth occurs by the production of two types of meristemic tissue, the vascular cambium and the cork cambium.

    In some habitats, the roots of certain plants may be modified and adapted for various environments. Some examples of these modifications result in storage roots, aerial roots, epiphytic roots, contractile roots, stilt roots, penumatophores, and photosynthetic roots. Root nodules and mycorrhizae are root adaptations that increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake.

    After completing this chapter, you should be able to ...
    • Describe the types of organs and organ systems in plants.
    • Describe the function of roots.
    • Identify the types of root systems found in plants.
    • Describe the different strictures and zones of a root.
    • Compare and contrast a monocot root to a eudicot root.
    • Describe secondary root growth and the function of vascular and cork cambium.
    • Describe the types of modified roots and their functions.


    adventitious root
    Casparian strip
    fibrous root system
    root cap
    root hair
    tap root system

    This page titled 3.2.5: Chapter Summary is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Melissa Ha, Maria Morrow, & Kammy Algiers (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative) .