Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Anatomy of a Plant

Carolyn Nixon


Label the plant parts on the diagram using the terms that are in bold below.

 The main shoot of the plant is called the stem.  The roots of the plant are below ground and help anchor the plant to the soil.  The main root is branched into several lateral roots, and these are often covered with very fine root hairs that absorb water and nutrients from the soil.  The stem often has many small, corky bumps called lenticels, which act as pores through which the plant can exchange gases with the atmosphere (breathe).  The main food producing organ of the plant is the leaf.  The large vein down the center of the leaf is called the midvein. The point where the leaf is attached is called the node.  The structure that contains the young, developing leaves, which is often covered with scales, is called a bud.  There is often a small bud at the base of the leaf, against the stem.  This is the axilary bud.  Some plants also have a stipule, a small, leaflike structure below the leaf attachment.   Most plants reproduce by producing flowers, which, once fertilized, produce fruit that contain seeds.  Some species also spread out from the original plant with stolons, which are stems that run along the surface of the ground and send down roots at the nodes.


Drawing by Carolyn Nixon,

INHS Office of the Chief.     


Answers to Anatomy of a Plant


a) bud;              b) leaf;

c) midvein;         d) flowers;

e) fruit;              f) lenticels;

g) stolon;           h) roots;

i) axilary leaf;     j) stipule;

k) node;             l) stem;

m) lateral roots; n) root hairs


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