Each part of the plant plays a significant role in its survival, from the roots to the seeds produced after the blooms fade. Understanding how the plant functions and what takes place during the growing process allows you to realize when things are not quite right. Pests, disease, a lack of nutrients or a lack of water leave telltale signs, from spots on the leaves to blossoms falling off.
The two main types of root systems are fibrous roots and tap roots. Tap roots grow as one main root deep in the ground, with lateral shoots to collect the nutrients in the soil. Carrots use the tap root system. The fibrous root system consists of a mass of tendrils spreading from the base of the plant. The grass on your lawn has a fibrous root system. Certain root systems store carbohydrates and sugars for the plant to use during blossoming and fruiting.
The stem acts as the feeding tube of the plant. The nutrients travel along the stem to the leaves, blossoms and fruit during the growing season. The main stem is a series of nodes (where the leaves are) and internodes (the spaces between the leaves). An internode that is too long may be the result of insufficient light. Internodes that are too short are signs of a decrease in fertility, or too much energy is being exerted elsewhere in the plant.
The leaves are the power source. Photosynthesis takes place in the leaves as they collect the sunlight. The chlorophyll mixes with the sunlight to produce glucose upon which the plant feeds. The veins in the leaves allow water and other nutrients to travel through the leaves and also send the glucose back down the plant for feeding or storage.
The reproductive section of the plant comprises the flowers. Each bloom has a stamen and a pistil. The stamen is the male reproductive organ that contains the pollen. The pistil contains the ovary where the seeds are created when pollen is deposited inside the ovule. When this process occurs, the plant generates fruit and or seeds.
As the ovary ripens, it will swell and start to produce fruit. The other parts of the plant become involved in this process by feeding the stored glucose and other nutrients to the fruit. The fruit acts as the vessel for the next generation of plants. The fleshy part of the fruit is designed to protect the seeds inside until they can mature and germinate.
The seeds produced by the plant, whether in the fruit or at the base of the flower, keep the evolution cycle of the plant going. The seeds contain enough stored energy, called endosperm, to feed the tiny plant so it can germinate and produce leaves. Certain plants like the dandelion create seeds that will be carried by the wind; other seeds will be carried by animals. It is in this manner that many plants have traveled great distances and new crops have developed.