Root Hair Overview

Root hairs are tiny, hair-like structures that grow on the surface of the plant roots. Their main function is to increase the area available for water absorption and that of minerals and other nutrients. Root hairs are delicate structures that can only survive for a couple of days. They do not have the ability to turn into roots.

Root hairs are attached at the root epidermal cells, and in addition to allowing an affective increase of surface area for water and nutrient uptake they also enlarge the volume of the availalble exploited soil, and aid in the  anchoring the plant within the soil.

The formation of root hairs takes place as a series of developmental processes that is initiated with cell fate specification in the meristems.

An overview of Root Hair formation

The Trichoblast root hair forming epidermal cells participate with the diffuse growth phase that is allied to the main root axis elongation.

Growth is reorganized when the fully elongated trichoblast have exited the elongation zone and become localised to the side upon the root hair initiation process.

This initiation will be followed by a sustained phase of tip growth and ends when the hair has reached its mature length. This now allows the insight to the developmental process range from the cell fate determination to the control of growth.

The plant cells of root hairs can be distinguished cytologically by their delayed vacuolation or dense cytoplasm in early development, near the onset of elongation. Visibility of the root hairs occurs during the swelling at the apical end of the elongated epidermal cells.

In summary the general functions provided by root hairs, that is to say the collection of huge amounts of nutrients and water in the soil can greatly help with plant maintenance and growth.

©2005-2015 Plant Biology Advice - Dean Ravenscroft