The successful encroachment into the terrestrial environment by vascular plants was dependent on the evolution of roots. These specialised organs enable the exploitation of the soil for both water and mineral nutrients. This capacity has enabled later vascular plants in particular to colonise dry and infertile environments. Apart from this absorptive function, roots act to anchor the aerial parts of a plant as well as functioning as storage for carbohydrates. The plant’s first root, the primary root, develops from the root apical meristem of the seed embryo. In gymnosperms and eudicots, the primary root develops as a taproot, which gives rise to lateral roots that also, in turn, branch – surface area is further increased by many tiny root hairs. In monocots, the primary root is generally short-lived, so the root system of the adult plant is composed of lateral or adventitious roots and their branches. B. Internal root anatomy – path of water uptake. Observe the slides of Ranunculus young and old root c.S. – both young and mature root. Note the very wide cortex and relatively small vascular cylinder, also known as the stele. Note also the relatively thick-walled endodermis, which is the innermost layer of cortical cells; and the single layer of thin-walled pericycle cells, which is the outermost layer of cells of the vascular cylinder. A relatively inactive vascular cambium forms between each primary phloem strand and the primary xylem. Label the diagram below. epidermis cortex endodermis casparian strip pericycle primary xylem vascular cambium primary phloem

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