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what are the only roots found above ground?
- Nicolle (age 13)
St. Isabella, novato CA USA
Well, there are quite a few plants which grow roots above the
ground. One of the more spectacular examples is the banyan tree, which
has roots which grow down from the branches and take root in the soil.
These are called "aerial roots" and sometimes called "prop roots".
After a long time, the main tree trunk decays away, and the prop roots
become new tree trunks of the various sections of the tree. The
mangrove tree and some orchids also have aerial roots. Also some vines
grow aerial roots like the trumpet vine and Ceriman.
Many trees will have exposed portions of their roots above ground
even if the root is drawing water and nutrients from below. Walking
down the street and having a look at the bases of trees usually will
show a few roots partially exposed. The cypress tree, which grows in
wetlands, usually has quite a few portions of roots exposed at its
base. Many trees which grow by rivers will have some of their roots
exposed by erosion of the soil.
(republished on 07/18/06)
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