Tagged: roots


Early Lateral Root Development Is Driven by Thirst

Roots are critical for plants to find water and nutrients. They can also be expensive to grow, so a plant needs to send them in the right direction. How do they do this? A new paper by Daniel von Wangenheim and colleagues in Nature Plants examines how lateral roots grow towards water in the very earliest stages of their formation. The interior of the young root is almost a series of concentric layers. From the outside you pass through the epidermis, the cortex, and the endodermis until you hit the pericycle. The pericycle is a layer of cells that surrounds...

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Visually stunning: Flora for juvenile – and adult – fauna

Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants by DK [Dorling Kindersley] with contribution by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2018. Dorling Kindersley. Dorling Kindersley’s Flora: Inside the secret world of plants [hereafter referred to as DK’s Flora] is a stunning book. However, with no Introduction, one can be forgiven for not being entirely sure what DK’s Flora aims to achieve. In the book’s Foreword, Prof. Kathy Willis – formerly Director of Science at RBG Kew, which renowned plant science organisation is a co-publisher of the book – states that: “This book starts to redress this balance [contribution of plants to all...

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The relative importance of these pathways is expected to differ as a function of microplastic types

Microplastics could pose a threat to plants

There’s been plenty of media attention on the threat plastics, especially microplastics, pose to animal life. A paper in New Phytologist suggests that there’s more to this. Plants might be suffering from plastic in the environment too. Rillig and colleagues have outlined a series of threats plastic poses to plant life. At the moment the risks are unproven. This is because it’s so much easier to spot plastic in aquatic systems than soil. The authors point out that particles of plastic might not seem important when soil is so particle-rich. However, they cite plenty of reports showing microplastics in many...

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Roots holding on to soil

Roots create … rock

The more I learn about roots, the more amazing they appear. Not only do they provide essential support for, and anchorage of, the aerial, above-ground, parts of the plant, they are the prime organs for abstracting water and a wide range of chemicals from the soil and transporting those throughout the plant. Furthermore, their ancient and profound association with fungi as mycorrhiza makes one of the most marvellous beneficial mutualisms on the planet. Not only are these root-fungal associations important to continued plant productivity, but they’ve also been implicated as a major driving force in the present-day success and diversity...

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Plant records: Can a plant be too trusting?

Name: Orchids Scientific name: Family: Orchidaceae Known for: Beauty, epiphytism, providing vanilla flavouring, tiny seeds, mycorrhizae, deceptive pollination, mycoheterotrophy, medicinal usage, vegetating Krakatoa… Record broken: The world’s most trusting plant… The orchid family, the Orchidaceae, is one of the biggest flowering plant families with an estimated number of species ranging from 26,460 [Maarten Christenhusz et al.,‎ Plants of the World: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants; University of Chicago Press, 2017] to >27,000]. Whilst that arguably means that there can be almost 27,000 unique ways to be an orchid, this item will have to restrict itself to generalisations. In particular,...

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