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24 September 2021 | Agriculture

STAFF REPORTER

WINDHOEK

It is important to know the basic form and structure of plants to understand how plants grow and produce seeds and fruits.

The technical advisor for Agribank’s Agri Advisory Services Division, Hanks Saisai, says a plant has different structures, and each structure serves a certain function.

He adds that it is of great importance for crop farmers to understand that each different part of a plant has a vital role to play in order for it 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.”

From root to stem

Saisai explains that roots are the parts of a plant that are normally below the ground. They absorb water and dissolve minerals from the soil.

Additionally, they store some food in the cells of the cortex. 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 beetroot. 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 and it transports water and dissolved minerals to all parts of the plant via its vessels.

The 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 breathe. Furthermore, they help carry out the process of evaporation.”

Flowers are the plant ‘s means of reproduction.

The most important parts of a flower are the ovary, stamen, 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.”