Structures and Functions The seed, which develops from an ovule after fertilization has occurred, surrounds the plant embryo and protects it from desiccation. Each seed consists of an embryo, food source, and protective outer coat, and can lie dormant for some time before germinating. The roots of a plant function in the storage of nutrients, the acquisition of water and minerals (from the soil), and the anchoring of the plant to the substrate. Tiny root hairs, which extend from the root surface, provide the plant with a huge total absorptive surface and are responsible for most of the plant's water and mineral intake. Plant stems (or trunks, as they are called in trees) function primarily in nutrient transport and physical support. The leaves contain chlorophyll and are the major sites of photosynthesis and gas exchange. Flowers contain the reproductive organs of angiosperms. Essential Processes Plants carry out a number of processes that are essential to their survival. Internal water and
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