Facts on Plant Roots & Seeds


The kingdom Plantae, which contains all plants, consists of approximately 350,000 species, of which about 90 percent are flowering plants or land plants. Seeds and roots play major roles in the dispersal and development of these plants.


Seeds house the embryo of a new plant and the food for that plant to germinate. The root is the first part of the plant to develop when the seed germinates and is responsible for the absorption and transportation of water and inorganic nutrients to the plant.


In an abstract presented by Science Direct, it is hypothesized that the characteristics of a plant seed correlate with the diameter of the plant root.

Root Function

Roots serve as an anchor for the body of the plant and often function as a storage unit for food and nutrients. In some plants, the roots may be used for propagation.

Specialized Roots

Contractile roots are specialized roots found on some species of bulbs. These roots have the ability to drag or push bulbs up or down in the soil until an optimal growing position is found.

Seed Importance

Once a plant reaches maturity, it begins to set seed. Seed setting and dispersal is essential for new plant development. Dispersal often takes place through the intervention of water, wind, animals or humans.

As Food

The seeds and roots of many plants can be used as a food source. Examples include sunflower seeds, beans, cereal, parsnips, rutabagas, carrots and potatoes.


  • Enjoying Gardening: Contractile Roots
  • Cliff Notes: Seed Structure and Development
  • Science Direct: Relationships Between Root Characteristics and Seed Size

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Nature: What is a Flowering Plant?
Keywords: germinating seeds, plant growth, contractile roots

About this Author

Loraine Degraff has been a writer and educator since 1999. She recently began focusing on topics pertaining to health and environmental issues. She is published in "Healthy Life Place" and "Humdinger" and also writes for Suite101. Degraff holds a Master's degree in Communications Design from Pratt Institute.