Wonder Contributors

We would like to thank Chase from Honolulu, Hawaii for today’s revisited Wonder! Chase Wonders, “Do all plants have roots?” Thanks again for this WONDERful Wonder Submission, Chase! 

Have you ever stopped to take a look at the world around you and think about how many different types of plants you see? A simple walk through your backyard or a local park will reveal hundreds of different types of plants.

Plants take on many shapes, sizes and colors, yet they are quite similar in how they’re put together — for the most part. Whether you’re looking at a tree, a flower or a blade of grass, all plants have certain things in common.

Plants conduct photosynthesis, a process through which they convert the sun’s energy into food they need to grow and survive. Photosynthesis occurs in chloroplasts, which are tiny organelles located within plant cells. Chloroplasts collect light and convert that light to energy with the help of chlorophyll molecules and special enzymes.

Many plants, such as trees and flowers, have vascular systems. These vascular plants have a system of tubes they use to transport nutrients and water to different parts of the plant. Vascular plants all have similar parts, such as stems, leaves and roots.

The roots, for example, have several important functions. They pull water and minerals from the environment to nourish the plant. This is why they grow down, because the water and minerals needed for growth are below the ground in the soil.

They also provide support and help anchor a plant to the ground. Without a strong root system, trees would not be able to stand tall and withstand high winds.

Roots can also store food and nutrients. A well-developed root system can also prevent soil erosion. Some roots are even edible. For example, the carrots we eat are the roots of the carrot plant!

Not all roots are underground, though. For example, water plants may have roots that float in the water. Epiphytes are plants that live in trees with roots that cling to tree branches.

There are even some plants that don’t have roots at all. Remember: the plant kingdom is huge. It’s hard for the human mind to grasp the number and wide variety of plants that exist on Earth.

Not all plants have vascular systems. Mosses and liverworts, for example, conduct photosynthesis, but they don’t have a classical plant structure like vascular plants.

Mosses grow in damp places and soak up the water and minerals they need directly from their environment. They anchor themselves to rocks and trees with rhizoids, thread-like growths that are not roots.

These and other examples of the simplest types of plants don’t have roots. Green algae, for example, are single-celled plants that float on water surfaces. Many types of seaweed do the same. Algae and seaweed absorb water and minerals from the water through all their parts.

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  1. Which plants don’t have roots?
    Hi! We are a third grade class from Liberty Elementary in Lexington,Ky. We watch Wonderopolis every morning and reflect on the current wonder. Here are some questions that were generated during our reflection today.

    How long do plants grow?

    How long did the plants in the video take to grow?

    How do some plants survive without roots?

    What happens to the roots if they don’t have water in a month?

    How did you grow those plants so fast on the video?

    • You guys have really AMAZED us with all of the extra WONDERing you’ve done today, C. Thompson! We’re so glad you guys left us this comment today, too! We don’t know the answer to all of the questions you asked, but we can tell you that you have given us some SUPER ideas for future Wonders of the Day!

      The video for today’s Wonder is an example of “time lapse” photography/videography. This just means that a camera was placed in front of the seeds and took photos/video throughout each step of the sprouting process! Then, the video was “sped up” to make it seem that the seeds were sprouting super quickly! Thank you so much for visiting Wonderopolis and inspiring US with your WONDERing! :-)

  2. I love plants!!!!!!!!!! Plants are interesting to me because of how they grow and how they get water and oxygen from the roots, which the roots get the water from the soil!!!!
    I LOVE PLANTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We appreciate your enthusiasm for plants, Hannah! We can tell you like them a LOT! Thank you for checking out today’s Wonder and letting us know what you thought by leaving us a comment…YOU ROCK! :-)

    • Thanks for telling us what you think about today’s Wonder of the Day®, Mia! We’re so glad you enjoyed it and we hope you learned a LOT of cool new things about plants and their roots (or lack of them)! :-)

  3. I love wonderopolis so much and this wonder of the day was about plants, so i did the try it out and i did a root view box with some carrots and it was cool! The roots looked like a dog eating a hamburger! HA HA!


    Hannah Kern

    • Hello, Molly! We’re so happy to hear that you liked learning about plants in Wonderopolis today! Thank you for letting us know! :-)

  4. That was a good wonder because you taught us about plants. I learned sometimes you want to put the plant by the window. I learned there not much plant have roots and I love this wonder today.

    • Hi there, Taylor! We sure do appreciate you sharing your comment with us! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

  5. I love this wonder because I learned a lot. I want to tell you what I learned is plants made their food from the sun and you have to put plants by the window so they can be nourished.

  6. Hi wonderopolis, my name is Caroline. I enjoyed your video about do all plants have roots. I think they all do. I wonder what tomorrow’s wonder will be about? Can sometime you wonder about monkeys? The reason I want you to wonder about monkeys is because monkeys are my favorite animal.

    • Happy Thursday, Caroline! Guess what? We like monkeys, too! Keep an eye out for future Wonders of the Day…we think there is one coming up that you will really like a lot! :-)

    • Hi, Sarah! One of our favorite things to do in the springtime is plant a garden! We like planting the seeds and checking every day to see if they have sprouted! We also like harvesting all the yummy fruits and vegetables we grow! :-)

  7. The roots grew and grew bigger, it was a clover. We have a special garden. Our teacher said some other schools don’t have gardens like our school. We also have woods and some other schools don’t have woods like our school. Thanks for another great wonder. I wonder what tomorrow’s wonders is going to be.

    • You and your schoolmates are really lucky to have a garden and woods at your school, Hailey! How special! Thank you for exploring today’s Wonder and for sharing your story with us! :-)

  8. I like growing plants! I think it’s really interesting to compare the plant
    over time. Sometimes I think plants look really cool, sometimes not.
    The wonder of the day today I thought was really fun!

    Abigail Rae in Alaska

    • What an awesome comment, Abigail! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about plants! We really appreciate hearing from enthusiastic Wonder Friends like you who enjoy learning in Wonderopolis! :-)

  9. I learned a lot of cool stuff. I did not know the answer. I learned that all plants don’t have roots, and I had a wonder…how long can worms get? I had more wonders. Does all foods spoil?

    • We think it’s really neat that you and your family grow your own plants, Kayla! Thank you for sharing your connection to today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  10. Which plants don’t have roots? Hey, you should do one on how coins are made! I LOVE PLANTS! You could also do a sweet tooth one (on like candy and yummy treats and soda.) This WONDER was really cool! (smiley)

    • Hi, Kate! Thank you for sharing your comment with us today! Mosses and liverworts are examples of plants that don’t have roots. They get the nutrients they need in other ways…we encourage you to revisit this Wonder to learn how!

      Thanks for the GREAT ideas for future Wonders of the Day! Did you know there are already some really SWEET Wonders? Check out the Wonders in our CANDY category here: http://wonderopolis.org/category/candy/. Happy WONDERing! :-)

    • Hi, Eric! That’s a cool idea for a future Wonder of the Day®! We have some Wonders coming up in the near future that we think you might enjoy…keep checking Wonderopolis! :-)

  11. Dear Wonderopolis,
    Cool wonder! Most plants have roots, but not all. For instance a cactus doesn’t have roots. I think tomorrow’s wonder is about the ocean.
    Paige ;)

    • You’re such a SUPER Wonder Friend to always leave us a comment, Paige! We appreciate you letting us know you learn new things in Wonderopolis! :-)

  12. When I was in first grade, my class did an experiment where we took away one of the three most important things for a plant’s survival. Each plant had started out exactly as healthy as each other. One of them, we didn’t give soil. An other flower was refused any water. The last one was denied any sunlight. The only one that survived was the one without soil.

    • What a COOL plant experiment, Clara! Thank you for sharing your experience with your friends here in Wonderopolis so we could ALL learn something new! :-)

  13. Sorry, but the only time I can get on is 9 pm Mountain time, which is almost midnight for you guys. You are awesome! About it being ground hog’s day: I have a nice, clean joke! Ground beef is made out of cows, right? And you use ground beef to make hamburgers. Sausage is made out of pig meat, and another name for a pig is hog! So, sausage is “ground hog”! Happy sausage day!

    • We’re not sure exactly how long it took those COOL plants to sprout and grow, 2nd Grade Bears, but we thought it was AWESOME to watch! Check out these other PLANT-related Wonders we think you will all enjoy: http://wonderopolis.org/category/plants-2/. Just scroll down and use the arrow navigation button at the bottom of the page to visit as many as you want! :-)

    • WOWEE! What a SUPER compliment, Lee! Thank you for visiting Wonderopolis and joining the WONDERful fun– we are so glad to have you! We can’t wait to Wonder with you again! :)

    • What a SUPER comment, Lee! We love exploring and using our imagination with AWESOME Wonder Friends like you! Thank you for posting your comment– we can’t wait to discover more Wonders together! :)

  14. We learned that some plants do not have to have roots. We liked the music!

    Here’s a wonder: Have you ever wondered how do silly bands maintain their shape?

    Mrs. Keith’s Class

    • Way to go, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Keith’s Class! We are so very excited to learn that you learned something new with us, and you were groovin’ to the music, too! AWESOME! Thank you for sharing your comment AND your Wonder of the Day® idea! Great one! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Do all plants have roots?
  • What is photosynthesis?
  • How do roots help plants?

Wonder Gallery

seedling_shutterstock_3530522 customVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to get to the root of the issue? There’s no better way to learn about roots and how they help plants grow than to do some experimenting on your own. Ask a friend or family member to help you with the following fun activities:

  • If you have some seeds, a plate, and some wet paper towels, you can do a root experiment right in your own kitchen. Just place some lima bean seeds on a plate that is covered in wet paper towels. Cover the plate with a large bowl and then check back in about 12 hours. You should see the seeds start to get bigger as they absorb some of the water from the paper towels. Make sure the paper towels stay wet, and keep checking on your seeds at least once a day for the next several days. Over time, you’ll begin to see little roots coming out of the seeds. At this point, you can plant your seeds in a pot with some soil, so they’ll really start growing!
  • As you learned in today’s Wonder, carrots are just big roots. If you’d like to experiment with carrots, just follow these suggestions found online. You can also take a trip to your local grocery store’s produce section to see and learn about other root vegetables up close!
  • Up for a challenge? With just a few items, you can make a Root View Box. After you plant a few seeds, you can watch over time as the roots grow, take hold and eventually help a new plant grow!

Still Wondering

In Science NetLinks’ The Science of Spring lesson, children learn about seeds and how they grow by conducting their own plant investigation and sharing their thoughts with others.


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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day won’t leave a bad taste in your mouth, but it will teach you about it.  

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