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Root-backups: functions and examples

The vegetative world of our planet is extremely diverse. Sometimes representatives of the flora simply amaze with their incredible adaptations, which are formed in them for adaptation to habitat conditions. Some of them amaze with incredibly bright and beautiful flowers, others - with fragrant and juicy fruits, others surprise with unusual leaves.

There are among them and those who were forced to form a special type of roots. After all, as is known, this organ is practically the most important and significant in plant nutrition. Here we also consider one of such examples of elegant, attention-getting and very original types of roots.

Vegetative organs of plants

In general, giving a characterization of any terrestrial multicellular plant, it is worth highlighting in its structure several basic structural parts.

  1. The aboveground part. It consists of a shoot that includes a stem, leaves and flowers (in the future fruit).
  2. The underground part. It is represented by a root with all the accompanying structural parts.

All these organs of the plant are called vegetative, that is, they do not take part in sexual reproduction. The root is one of the most important of the listed parts of the body, since it performs very different, but vital functions for the plant. There are different types of root systems, as well as different types of roots themselves (respiratory, root-props, hooks and so on).

Types of Root Systems

The whole root system of a plant can be divided into its component components. So, they distinguish:

  • The main root is the one that is formed from the apical meristem and keeps it active throughout life (that is, such a root has unlimited growth). It is characterized by positive geotropism - the ability to orient growth towards the center of the Earth, down.
  • The primitive roots are those that are formed on different parts of the plant, the old root, the leaves, the stem, and so on. Example: root-supports, aerial roots of epiphytic plants and others.
  • Lateral - those that branch off in large or small numbers from the main and subordinate, forming together with them a single root system of a certain type.

In connection with the severity of a particular type of root in the system, it is customary to single out their two basic types.

  1. The core root system - when the central root is the most pronounced, and the lateral and accessory are only an addition (most often in representatives of the dicotyledon class).
  2. Uterine - when there is no central pronounced root. All together - the main, lateral and accessory - form a single, highly-branching bundle of filaments. More common in monocots.

Very different interest is represented by various modifications of the root. One of them is precisely the root-support, the functions and examples of which are discussed below.

What are the root-supports?

These are narrowly specialized subordinate roots, which are formed on the stem of plants. Thus, the roots-props are not the main, but subordinate structures. They are also characterized by positive geotropism, as for the main root.

Accepted plants that have such adaptations, call banyans. They are considered in their homeland (in India, Asia, countries with tropical climate) are very important and even sacred. Outwardly very unusual, in the diameter of all the roots in the aggregate can reach several tens, and even hundreds of meters. There are several reasons why such root-props are formed. Their functions are significant for plants.

The functions of such roots

  1. Additional transport of water and minerals.
  2. Support function for better strengthening and fixing the plant in the soil.
  3. The capture of a vast territory of growth through the rooting of all subordinate structures.

Roots-backups of the function are performed in good faith. Plants that have such characteristics are very unusual and spectacular and occupy quite extensive areas in the tropical forests.

Roots-supports: examples of tropical plants

The bulk of plants of this kind belongs to ficuses. The country of their growth is India, where all Banyans are considered sacred and undergo careful protection and care on the part of man.

So, for example, Indian ficus, the Latin name of which is Ficus elastika, in nature is a tall large tree (up to 30 m) with large dark green beautiful glossy oval leaves. Its root-support function performs all the same: support when rooting, seizing the territory and receiving increased nutrition. Such a plant can grow to the size of a small grove.

Room analog

For a long time there is a room variation of Ficus elastika. This small potted plant, which does not bloom, is valued for the beauty of its juicy, shiny and large leaves. For him, all conditions are created. This implies that at home it is not required to perform its root-backup function. And plants of this type simply do not form them.

Ficus bengalensis (Ficus bengali)

This representative of the group of plants under consideration is a surviving tree. The most ancient representative has 3000 years of existence! This is a very large tall tree, which during its life forms the roots-props. Their functions consist mainly in the absorption of air, moisture and subsequent rooting with conversion to real pillars.

This species of ficus can form several hundred accessory roots for life, which allows it to occupy areas of up to 2 hectares. Its leaves are relatively small, up to 20 cm in length. Fruits are a favorite treat for birds and some monkeys.

People have learned to grow this plant for decorative purposes, so in the temperate zone it can also be found in the form of a reduced copy of a pottery copy many times.

Ficus religiosa (Ficus religiosa)

There is another kind of ficus, which forms the roots-props. Examples of such trees can be seen in their natural habitat - in India and South-East Asia. All kinds of ficus religios are a valuable material for study and are protected in the reserves and parks of local residents.

The number of roots that can form one such tree is about 300. They all take root and form like pergolas or groves in which a person can easily roam. The seeds and fruits of this tree are the favorite delicacy of animals and birds. And the resin of virtually all fig trees growing in tropical countries is a valuable material for humans. It's called shellac.

The room variety of this plant is widespread in the temperate zone. It is valued for its beautiful leaves, unpretentiousness in care and longevity.

Monster deliciosa (Monstera deliciosa)

There are also unusual representatives of the flora, in which in the natural conditions the roots-props are formed. Examples of plants: monsters, as well as all other types of ficuses besides the above. It is noteworthy that in the beginning monsters settle on other trees as epiphytes such as lianas. But over time they form their own long roots, which, growing to the ground, take root and allow it to feel more confident and free.

An amazing feature of Monsters is the delicacy, besides such roots, is the ability to get rid of excess moisture with the help of water stomata. It is a "weeping plant," after the rain, pouring out excess moisture through the tips of the leaves.

There is also a cultural variety of such a monster. It is grown in pots and is very fond of beautiful carved leaves and unpretentiousness.

Mangrove thickets

These forests are characterized by the formation of not quite propping, but at first air roots. They eventually become stilted and supporting, allowing mangroves to grow in such unusual and difficult conditions - along the gentle and flat shores of the oceans and salty rivers.

In this case, not quite the usual perform the root-support function, and the plants use them more to absorb air, rather than as a support. However, over time, this function is also fully realized. The fact is that many different bushes and trees belong to the mangrove plants. Together they form a common forest, called mangrove. And it is in him, in order to survive, plants form such adaptations as unusual modifications of roots. After all, it's hard to be in the salty ocean water all your life. This leads to a lack of air, water, to an excess of minerals. Additional roots allow the mangroves to solve these problems and quietly survive, delighting with the riot of juicy greens and unusual appearance.

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