Unseen Acts

…the idea of those little man-shaped roots dancing in their world beneath the soil.

– Barbara Kingsolver
Prodigal Summer, 2000

Movement Below Ground
Considerable plant movement happens in the quiet of the underground, unseen by human eyes. Roots, creeping slowly through the soil, anchor the plant, while they locate water and nutrients. Fueled by the energy stored in the seed, the root slips its seed coat to meet the soil and seek a pathway towards the nearest resources.

Roger Hangarter, time-lapse movie,
mung bean (Phaseolus aureus)

Roots Up Close, Roger Hangarter, time-lapse movie,
mouse-eared cress
(Arabidopsis thaliana) & corn (Zea mays).

Roots reveals the probing, plodding movement of the root tips as they avoid or nudge aside obstacles. As they become fueled by the energy gathered in the leaves, the roots grow and multiply, mining the soil for nutrients and moisture. As a plant grows, it experiences and reacts to aboveground and belowground environments simultaneously. Each brings its own unique challenges.The extent of root growth below ground is in balance with the aboveground living tissue, each sustaining the other through their mutually beneficial functions.

Roots Up Close examines roots at great magnification, showing the epidermal cells that extend into the space surrounding the root. These cell extensions, called root hairs, increase the root surface, facilitating the uptake of nutrients and water from the soil.

<< Back
Site Directory
Next >>