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What are the differences between a carrot plant and a marigold plant? They both have stems, they both have flowers (carrot flowers are small and insignificant), they both have leaves, and they both have roots. So, aside from the differences in their flowers, what other differences are there? The root, of course! Carrots have this huge (for the size of the plant) root, which we can eat. Marigolds have roots that almost look like hair, and they are not edible (means okay to eat, pronounced, "EDD-i-bul"). What other plants are there that have large, edible roots? Make a list. Some roots on your list could be potatoes of several types, turnips, rutabagas, beets, and radishes.

What has a root that is large and round, has light brown skin, and white flesh that comes off in layers? Several plants have roots that fit that description, but of course, we are all thinking about onions. Many of our spring flowers have roots just like that, only they are called "bulbs." We don't eat them.

What about the roots of other vegetables, such as tomato (that's really a fruit!), squash, and lettuce? We don't eat them. Yuck! A large tomato plant has one or two roots that are fairly fat, and have a million hair-like roots. Squash roots are like string. Lettuce roots are like hair. These roots are not edible.

If something is not edible, does that mean eating it can cause illness or death? Not necessarily. Some things that grow are poisonous, and other things that grow are not edible for other reasons, such as being too hard to chew, have a horrible taste, or has no nutritive value to people. Grass roots, for example, provide nutrition to gophers, but not to people.

How do we know whether or not to eat something that grows? WE ASK AN ADULT IF IT IS OKAY. IF THE ADULT DOESN'T KNOW, WE DO NOT TAKE A CHANCE AND TRY IT. WE LEAVE IT ALONE.

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