Both Fangchu and Kia were very pleased with their effort. With their love, care and careful monitoring all the saplings had survived. The saplings had grown few more tender leaves in the last few days and some of the plants had grown fairly tall compared to the rest.
Ma had once mentioned that each kind of plant has their unique characteristics. That is why few grow quickly while others remain short and others grow in volume, having many leaves and branches.
Today Ma had a lengthy discussion with the kids on roots, what they are and their functions.
It came as a shock to Fangchu when Ma mentioned that certain plant roots also grow above the ground! The roots of the mangroves of Sunderbans, in West Bengal, grow above the ground as the land is frequently flooded with sea water.
“Beta do you know what roots do?” Ma asked.
“Yes Ma. They absorb water and nutrients.”
“Is there anything else?”
Kia butted in, “Roots look like my hair.”
Ma laughed on hearing that. She was pleased. “Fangchu they not only absorb water and nutrients but also give support to the plant, store food and nutrients and help in the growth and development of the plant.”
“Kia”, Ma added. “Yes they look like hair. That is why they are known as fibrous roots. These give support to the plant and grow laterally, along the surface of the ground.”
“But, did you know that certain roots of plants can go as deep as 70 metres into the Earth.”
“Waaah!” Fangchu exclaimed.
Kia looked at her brother questioningly.
Fangchu knew this was coming. He admired his little sister’s curiosity.
“Kia, the distance from here to Ganesh Uncle’s ration store is how deep the roots have been found to grow!”
Kia took sometime to fathom that. With each instance her eyes went wider and wider.
“Bhaiya so deep?”
Ma and Fangchu nodded with a smile.
“Roots have also been seen to puncture water tanks, drain pipes, create cracks in roads in search of water and nutrients Kia. Isn’t that amazing?”
This was exciting information for the kids.
Fangchu loved every moment of this insightful discussion. He was filled with questions but he knew there would be time to satiate his curious mind. For now it was all about enjoying the feeling of being in awe and amazement as they dwelled deeper into the world of plants.