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Root absorption HTML5


Water and minerals in the soil absorbed by the roots are transported through the xylem (conducting vessels of the crude-sap) to the upper parts of the plant (stems and leaves).

Examinationn of the finest branches of the roots, rootlets, shows an area just before the end with very fine hairs. This is the feeder root zone, where hairs increase the surface area of exchange between the root and soil.

The absorption takes place mainly in the root hairs, which are an outgrowth of epidermal cells of the root.

In the root, water is transported by osmosis radially into the root hair. From there it travels through the root hair cortex cells by passing along cell walls, or through the cytoplasm of each cell until it reaches the central stele where the xylem and phloem are found.

Click on to zoom in to see root absorption at the cellular level.

Learning goals

  • To understand the role of a plants root structure.
  • To discover the different pathways of water and minerals from the soil into the conducting vessels of the xylem.

Learn more

The roots in a plant have several functions.

  • to anchor the plant in the soil
  • to absorb water and minerals from the soil
  • and in some cases to store nutrients (ex: carrots)


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