Background

Even the most casual observer of the green world knows that roots anchor and absorb water and minerals, leaves trap solar energy in the process of photosynthesis, and stems support the leaves, conduct water, and transport organic solutes. Roots, stems, and leaves arc the vegetative organs that comprise the architecture of plains— and are the targets of investigation for this laboratory. You will see how the construction of these organs rellccts their functions and how to recognize the telltale anatomical differences between them. You will learn that the great monocot dicot divide in the angiosperms is reflected in discernible differences in their vegetative organs.* Some of your conceptions of common vegetables may change as you learn that they arc not always what they seem. You will also revisit a Victorian craft to reveal and appreciate the lacy beauty- within leaves.

This discussion is limited to rhe primary or herbaceous plant body: the roots, stems, and leaves that originate trom primary meristcms (see I-iboratory Topic 2). Woody stems and roots from secondary growth are discussed in Laboratory Topic 15.

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