Posts Tagged ‘roots’
The portion of a plant that connects the shoot to the root is commonly referred to as the collar region. An amazing thing can be noticed in most millets.
As the plant grows, the younger tillers push the older tillers further and further away from the central axis of the plant. At each node in their older tillers, new tillers branch out growing skyward. The parent tiller becomes more and more horizontal and its secondary tillers weigh it down further and further bringing it almost parallel to the ground. From each of the older nodes within these tillers, we see secondary roots being pushed into the ground to bring in the good stuff to grow the plant. Essentially, the older nodes in the senior tillers become a secondary collars !
I have seen this in Barnyard, Proso and Browntop millets and given their taxonomy I would expect that Foxtail, Little millets would have a similar behaviour too. While, I suspect that Kodo and Finger millets would be exceptions to this characteristic, I would be more than glad if I am proven wrong !
Millets are amazing. Most people would have seen sorghum and pearl millet in the fields growing to more than 8′ in height, and among traditional varieties, 10′ is totally the norm. Some might have noticed how these amazing plants put secondary roots from their collar nodes to support themselves as they grow.
On reaching reproductive stage, the grain filled panicle at the apex of the plant can easily weigh about 300 gms. So, one can approximate the plant to a cylinder with about 2″ to 3″ diameter and a height of 120″, held at one end, with a 300 gm weight at the free end. So its not really surprising that purely from a physical dynamics perspective they put down secondary roots from not just one, or two but even three nodes as seen in this image below. I am sure I am not alone in seeing the many beautiful math and physics concepts that one can explain, demonstrate and possible experiment with in this amazing natural wonder.
And then there is the physiology of the structures. More on that in a later post.