The root is covered at the apex by a thimble-like structure called the root cap, which protects the tender apex of the root as it makes its way through the soil. A few millimetres above the root cap is the region of meristematic activity. The cells of this region are very small, thin-walled and with dense protoplasm. They divide repeatedly. The cells proximal to this region undergo rapid elongation and enlargement and are responsible for the growth of the root in length. This region is called the region of elongation. The cells of the elongation zone gradually differentiate and mature. Hence, this zone, proximal to region of elongation, is called the region of maturation. From this region some of the epidermal cells form very fine and delicate, thread-like structures called root hairs. These root hairs absorb water and minerals from the soil.