This is an excavated root system of an Eastern Gamagrass plant. The large roots contain air filled pores called aerenchyma. Aerenchyma move oxygen from the shoot down to the root tips when the plant is flooded. Flooding is a common occurrence during wet springs in the Appalachian region. The aerenchyma also allow these strong roots to penetrate saturated clay layers deep in the soil so that the plant has more water available during drought periods.
Photo by Keith Weller, Ag Research Magazine
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