Last updated: June 21, 2021

What Does Shoot Mean?

The shoot of any plant refers to the system of interconnected above ground parts. It may include the immature growth that emerges from the seed, or any or all of the permanent, mature portions of the plant.

The shoot includes any of the trunk, branches, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruit (in the case of fruit-bearing plants).

Though an oversimplification of the complexity of plant systems, it can be said that the two living systems of most plants are the shoot system and the root system; covering all of the above ground functions of the plant and all of the below ground functions of the plant respectively.


Maximum Yield Explains Shoot

Shoots may be short or long-lived. The shoots of annual plants develop and senesce over the course of a single growing season and do not grow back (though new ones may grow back from seed dropped the previous season).

The shoots of herbaceous perennials develop at the beginning of the growing season and die at the end of the growing season, but grow back at the beginning of the following year’s growing season.

On most trees and shrubs, the only portion of the shoot system that dies are the leaves, and sometimes stems, but the trunks and branches remain intact over the dormant season.

While woody plants exhibit longer shoots, angiosperms tend to sprout shooter ones which are known as fruit spurs or spurt shoots.

In the wild, freshly grown shoots act as food for animals. This is because young shoots haven’t undergone secondary cell wall development. As a result, the animals can easily chew and digest the shoots. This is in contrast to older shoots that present a much tougher and harder structure.

According to botanists, the shoot system is designed in such a way so as to allow the plants to grow taller, hence facilitating access to sunlight. Consequently, the plant converts light into sugar which largely enables its development. Not unlike roots, shoots first develop from ground, vascular and dermal tissues.


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