Recognizing the silhouette or bearing of a tree is very easy for practically anyone, although we are not necessarily knowledgeable in botany or gardening. These plant giants represent the most visual part of the great masses of vegetation and it is usual that, both in groups and individually, they take center stage in the landscapes in which they are found.
In this article we are going to focus on how the structure of a tree is formed, to see what the parts of a tree are and their functions . Join us if you want to learn more about these large and woody vegetables.
The roots of the tree and their functions
The roots are the part of the tree that grows underground and sometimes on the surface. The functions of tree roots are varied, but the main ones are two:
- Capture of water and minerals .
- Provide the tree with support and anchoring .
Until the plants began to develop strong and deep roots , capable of providing a firm support point, they could not form large aerial structures, since the weight of these and the incidence of elements, such as the wind, could make it very easy for them to be torn off. Currently, however, large colossi such as the redwood or the baobab are firmly supported thanks to the anchoring of their roots, which allows the existence of very different types of trees.
The function of uptake of nutrients from the roots of a tree is done through the absorbent hairs of these, exactly the same as with other plants. The roots absorb the necessary water and minerals from the soil, which they transport to the trunk so that it takes care of its distribution.
It must be said that the roots are constantly growing , except in the coldest times, and that only the newer parts are those that work by absorbing nutrients. To maximize their mineral uptake capacity, many trees develop symbiotic relationships with fungi and micro-crusts . Thanks to these, the tree more easily obtains minerals from the soil, in exchange for providing the fungus with sugars. In fact, the reason many trees do not do well in alkaline soils is because they are not suitable for fungi of this type.
The trunk and branches of the tree
The trunk is probably the most characteristic part of the tree and what makes it easy to identify it as such. The tree trunk has two main functions :
- Support the aerial part of the tree.
- Transport water and nutrients between its different parts.
It is much more than just a woody column, and it also has different parts. The parts of the trunk and their functions are:
- The bark and phloem are the outer layers of the trunk and branches. It is a protective cover that is responsible for protecting the new wood, and at the same time transporting the enriched sap, both upward and downward.
- The cambium is a thin film between the sapwood and the bark, which is responsible for producing the new layers of trunk that are produced in each growing season. It is an essential part of the tree, because without it it cannot continue to develop and dies. In dicotyledonous plants, each year’s growth leaves a mark on the sapwood, so-called growth rings.
- The sapwood and xylem is the part of the young and live wood. It is filled with conductive vessels that work exclusively upwards, carrying the raw sap to the leaves. In this link you will find more information about What is xylem and its function .
- The heartwood is made up of hard cells of dead wood, which give the tree resistance to pests and a firm support. It is darker than xylem.
- Finally, the pith consists of dead or weakened cells and is located in the exact center of the tree. It is very dark and can be of different textures depending on the specific tree and its age.
All these parts are shared by the branches of the tree , especially the thicker ones, which spread out seeking to cover the largest possible surface of the sun for the leaves.
The leaves of the tree and their functions
We continue talking about the different parts of a tree and their functions and we stop at one of the parts that can vary the most from one species of tree to another and which is easier to identify; the leaves of the trees.
The leaves are the part where the tree makes food from the minerals and water that the roots bring to the roots, as we remember that trees are autotrophic organisms or that they make their own food or organic matter from inorganic matter. This process is possible thanks to the chlorophyll present in the leaves, which gives them their characteristic green color and enables photosynthesis to be carried out . Learn more about what chlorophyll is and about the difference between photosynthesis and plant respiration with these other AgroCorrn posts.
The leaves also allow the evaporation of the excess water from the photosynthesis process, which helps to establish a negative pressure for the transport of raw sap from the roots.
Some leaves are deciduous, so the tree reabsorbs its nutrients before allowing them to dry in the cold season, while others are perennial and are kept all year round. The leaves usually grow in the upper aerial zone of the tree. What is the highest part of a tree called ? Simply cup or, we call it the top if we refer exclusively to the tip.
Cones, fruits, seeds and flowers of a tree
Finally, there are the flowers, fruits, seeds and cones of the trees . These fulfill a reproductive function in different ways, but their objective is the same: to carry the seeds as far as possible from the parent tree, in order to favor further colonization.
Learn more about some of these parts with these other posts about The parts of the seed and their functions , Parts of the fruit and their functions and What are the parts of a flower and their functions . In addition, we recommend that you learn more about plant reproduction with this article on Plant reproduction .
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