Grass roots – and the mystery of green tips. 

Whenever, I am in a park – I always pull on grass. I am curious what’s lurking right under the soil. This time I decided to look at the roots. It’s quiet remarkable that these little hair thin structures penetrate through all kinds of soils and find resources for the plant. 

I pulled a grass and put one single grass root thread on a double sided tape and mounted it in my 140x foldscope. 

I was happy to see cells organized along the root growth axis. Since roots have been studied as a model system for development and morphogenesis; it’s nice to be reminded of the shape and form of these hairs. 

Puzzle: Surprisingly, I also noticed green chlorophyll pigment only at the tip of the root. Otherwise most of the root was colorless or white. So why would that be – I am still wondering why the tip would have cells with chlorophyll. No light penetrates the soil – so what good would that do. If you have ideas, please leave them as comments below. 

Next time you uproot a weed; don’t miss out on watching the roots – an invisible but a crucial part of a plant. 



One Comment Add yours

  1. laksiyer says:

    Hi Manu. Pretty neat observation. I am going to pull out a few roots to see its generality. Perhaps chlorophyll production is the ground state at the root tip and the light exposure determines whether it will not make it any further and become a leucoplast or make a derivative to give a chromoplast— Really interesting. It is amazing how a simple experiment makes you think.

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