Plant Parts

Know Your Plant Anatomy!

Understanding how plants live and grow can be helpful information to many gardener. Although we learned about plant parts in school years ago, here's a refresh on the main parts of plants and what they do.


Understanding how plants live and grow can be helpful information to many gardener. Although we learned about plant parts in school years ago, here's a refresh on the main parts of plants and what they do.

Basic parts of all plants:

  • Roots: A plant's roots provide support by anchoring it and absorbing minerals and nutrients necessary for growth. They also store carbohydrates and sugars that the plant needs. Common types of root systems are a taproot, like a carrot or parsnip, or a fibrous root, like grass or lettuce. The main function of roots is to absorb water and deliver it to the plant's stem.

  • Stem: The stem receives water and nutrients from the roots and distributes them to the rest of the plant. Stems also support leaves, allowing them to receive sunlight.

  • Leaves: Leaves make food for the plant using carbon dioxide, water and sunlight in a process known as photosynthesis.

  • Flowers: Fruits and seeds would not be possible without flowers. The plants reproductive parts are contained in flowers. The male parts of the plant (anthers and stamen) produce pollen that fertilizes the female ovary, which ultimately becomes a fruit. Flowers have petals so the color and scent can attract bees and birds that assist in the pollination process.

  • Fruits: A fruit is the ripened ovary of a flowering plant, which swells to protect the seeds inside. Some of these fruits are edible, like apples, tomatoes and cucumbers. If those are fruits, you might be wondering, what's a vegetable?

  • Seeds: A seed is actually a plant embryo. Seeds are protected by a hard coat, and contain a food source inside that feeds the embryo as it begins to germinate.


Knowing what's what in your plants is not only interesting trivia. Knowledge of plant anatomy can give you a better understanding of what your plants need in terms of nutrients, water and soil requirements.

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