The root is the part of the plant that grows underground. It holds the plant in place and absorbs water and minerals. The root is sometimes described as the descending axis of the plant — it grows downward and has no leaves or flowers.
The main root of a plant is called the primary root. It is also known as a taproot. It goes deeper into the soil and is usually larger than the other roots.
The smaller roots that branch out from the primary root are called the secondary roots. They are sometimes called lateral roots. They help anchor the plant into the soil and increase the surface area of the root system, helping to increase the plant’s uptake of water and absorption of minerals.
Root hairs are the small projections that grow at the ends of the roots. This is where most of the water absorption happens. The root hairs collect the water and mineral nutrients that are present in the soil and pass this along through the roots to the rest of the plants.
At the end of each root are the root caps. They cover and protect the growing tips of the roots. Root caps are also called calyptra. They have cells called statocytes that are believed to help the root perceive gravity, allowing it to grow downwards (with gravity) or upwards (against gravity).
This quiz is inspired by the official Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) nomenclature cards.
Parts of a Root