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The basic form and structure of plants

2021-08-03  Staff Reporter

The basic form and structure of plants

Hanks Saisai


It is important to know the basic form and structure of plants for you to understand how plants grow and produce seeds and fruits. A plant has different structures, and each structure serves a certain function. At most, a plant has the following parts.

The root system

Roots are the parts of a plant that are normally below the ground. They absorb water and dissolved minerals from the soil. Additionally, they store some food in the cells of the cortex e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, etc. Roots also anchor the plant and hold it upright in the ground.

Overall, there are mainly two types of root systems. The taproot system and the fibrous root system. In a taproot system, the main root can be differentiated from the secondary or side roots and root hairs, as it is larger than the side roots. This can be found in plants such as carrots and beetroots. As for the fibrous root system, the main root cannot be differentiated from the other
roots and an example of plants with fibrous root system are maize, beans and millet.


The stem is the part of the plant that grows above the ground. It bears the leaves, flowers, and fruits. Furthermore, it transports water and dissolved minerals to all parts of the plant via its vessels which pass nutrients and food in the plant system.


Leaves help to transport nutrients and water, and they store food such as sugars especially in leafy vegetables such as cabbage, spinach and lettuce. They manufacture food using energy obtained from sunlight, while also allowing the plant to breath. Furthermore, they help carry out the process of evaporation.


Essentially, flowers are the plant ‘s means of reproduction. The most important parts of a flower are the ovary, stamens, and petals. In essence, the petals protect the ovary, stamen, and stigma. The male cells are known as pollen and are found on the stamen. Whereas the female egg cells are known as ovules and they are found in the ovary.

Finally, it is of great importance for crop farmers to understand that each different part of plants has a vital role to play in order for that specific plant to grow successfully. Additionally, when the functions are well understood, it is the farmer’s responsibility to ensure that the plants are protected from pests that may harm useful parts of the plants and cause delayed growth.

* Hanks Saisai is Technical Advisor, Agribank’s Agri Advisory Services Division

2021-08-03  Staff Reporter

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