Root Cap Overview

The section of tissue found at the tip of the root of plants is known as the root cap and can also be referred to as the calyptra.

This tissue contains statocytes that is involved in the plants’ gravity perception.
If the cap were to be removed carefully, the roots would start to randomly grow as the root cap is responsible in the functioning of the growing tip in plants.

Root caps secrete mucilage that is used in easing the movement of the root through the soil, which can also be involved in the soil microbiota communication. There is no root cap in some aquatic and parasitic plants, wherein the formation of root pocket, a sac-like structure, takes place.

Root cap Formation

The root cap is formed by the numerous layers of cells that enclose the external part of the root tip. Such covering of the cells, wherein most of the outermost layers are dead, protects and envelops the growing tip, almost similar with how a thimble can protect the finger. The root cap extends back over the root with a distance of around a millimeter in length.

Upon the maturation of the root cap cells, they will eventually become parenchyma cells that are continuously pushed out by the production of the new cells from within. Cells that are located on the outside near the soil are less flattened by pressure that those from cells found within.

The mucigel, slimy layer produced by the root cap, lubricates the tip of the root in order to better penetrate the soil. However, throughout the life span of the root, even though it can go down deep within the soil, the root cap is regularly renewed by new cells that were formed within the delicate tip.

To summarise, the root cap is a small cone of cells which protects the roots growing parts as it makes its way beneath the soil; the root cap is located at the tip of the root, covering it. The part where most of the growth of roots takes place is the region behind the root cap.

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