DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Roots of an ornamental tree, Prunus incisa (the Fuji cherry). The root system of a tree serves to anchor it and to obtain water and mineral nutrients from the soil. In a plant of several yearsâ standing, the main roots are thickened and strengthened by means of a cortex and secondary conducting elements whose walls contain lignin. Each Spring new primary roots are formed to extend the area of absorbing surface, enabling the tree to continue growth. The picture shows one main root of a small pot-grown P. incisa, six years from seed. The secondary roots are brown in hue. The oldest part of the root ( centre top ) has produced a series of branching side roots; these are also brown in hue. The white roots ( to bottom ) are primary roots from the current yearâs growth. The primary roots are active in absorption of nutrients by means of fine hairs located back from their tips.
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