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Root hair cell





Plants absorb water from the soil by osmosis. Root hair cells are adapted for this by having a large surface area to speed up osmosis. [1]

A specialised cell that increases the surface area of the root epidermis to improve the uptake of water and minerals. [2]

Q: How water is absorbed into root hairs from soil

Water and minerals flow into the cell sap of root hair cell

- by osmosis because the soil water has a higher water potential than the cytoplasm of the root hair cell, so the water moves down a water potential gradient.

Relevant Videos

diffusion and active uptake in root hair cells

From Youtube

Transport in Plants - Absorption of water

From Youtube







The root hair cells has a special structure to help it absorb water from the soil efficiently.

1. Has a long thin extension

- which provides a large surface area for absorption of water.

2. Large vacuole

- The root hair cell has a large vacuole to maximize the amount of water capacity of the cell; thus, the cell is able to absorb and store more water.

3. Cell sap

- The cell sap of the root hair cell has a lower water potential than the water in the soil. Thus, the water from the soil moves into the cell via osmosis. [3]


The function of root hair cell is to collect water and mineral nutrients present in the soil and take this solution up through the roots to the rest of the plant.

As root hair cells do not carry out photosynthesis they do not contain chloroplasts. [4]

BBC Bitesize - Root hair cell


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