The end of the root that absorbs minerals and _______ is the _______. The root tip is protected by several layers of cells called the _______. In the region of _______, cells mature and become specialized in function. Some cells in the outer layer develop_______. These _______ are elongated cells that increase surface area of the root to maximize absorption of _______ and minerals from the ______. The _______ and vascular cylinder are separated by the _______. In the vascular cylinder, the xylem and _______ are separated by the _______.