Chapter

Root Structure and Function

Joseph G. Dubrovsky and Gretchen B. North

in Cacti

Published by University of California Press

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780520231573
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520927889 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520231573.003.0003
Root Structure and Function

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This chapter examines the root biology of cacti, discussing root structure, growth, and development, and then exploring the functions of roots as organs for water, and mineral uptake and plant anchorage. An understanding of the relationship between root structure and function is essential to understanding how cacti roots and root systems have evolved structural and physiological features to help them endure harsh conditions, such as high temperatures, prolonged drought, nutrient-poor soils, and strong winds. For a number of desert and epiphytic cacti, the development of rhizosheaths improve root water relations by ensuring good contact between the root and wet soil, and by helping to reduce water loss from the root to a drier soil. Lateral root primordia arise during drought and hasten plant recovery when soil moisture is restored.

Keywords: root biology; root; water uptake; mineral uptake; desert cacti; epiphytic cacti; rhizosheaths; lateral root primordia

Chapter.  10218 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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