About this book
The formation of roots is in some respects one of the least fundamentally understood of all plant functions. Propagation by cuttings is the aspect that will occur first to most gardeners and horticulturists, and it is certainly the most useful application. But any observant traveller in the tropics can notice that some trees have the habit of forming roots in the air. Climbers like Cissus bear long fine strings of roots hanging down. Pandanus trees tend to have stout aerial roots issuing from the bases of the long branches, while the tangle of roots around the trunk of many of the Ficus species is characteristic. In Ficus bengalensis, in particular, stout cylindrical roots firmly embedded in the ground from a height of 3 to 5 meters give support to the long horizontal branches, enabling them to spread still further. In the big old specimen at Adyar near Madras, the spread of these branches all around the tree, each with a strong root growing out every few meters, makes a shaded area under which meetings of almost 5000 people are sometimes held. The history of how the formation of roots on stem cuttings was found to be under hormonal control is worth repeating here.
evolution lateral roots plant plants regulation roots