As Regions Move Away from the Apex Their Growth Rate Increases

As a given region of the plant axis moves away from the apex, its growth velocity increases (the rate of elongation accelerates) until a constant limiting velocity is reached equal to the overall organ extension rate. The reason for this increase in growth velocity is that with time, progressively more tissue is located between the moving particle and the apex, and progressively more cells are expanding, so the particle is displaced more and more rapidly. In a rapidly growing maize root, a tissue element takes about 8 hours to move from 2 mm (the end of the meristematic zone) to 12 mm (the end of the elongation zone).

Beyond the growth zone, elements do not separate; neighboring elements have the same velocity (expressed as the change in distance from the tip per unit of time), and the rate at which particles are displaced from the tip is the same as the rate at which the tip moves through the soil. The root tip of maize is pushed through the soil at 3 mm h-1. This is also the rate at which the nongrowing region recedes from the apex, and it is equal to the final slope of the growth trajectory.

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