Over 130 years ago, Charles Darwin recognized that sensory functions in the root tip influence directional root growth. Modern plant biology has unravelled that many of the functions that Darwin attributed to the root tip are actually accomplished by a particular organ-the root cap. The root cap surrounds and protects the meristematic stem cells at the growing root tip. Due to this vanguard position, the root cap is predisposed to receive and transmit environmental information to the root proper. In contrast to other plant organs, the root cap shows a rapid turnover of short-lived cells regulated by an intricate balance of cell generation, differentiation, and degeneration. Thanks to these particular features, the root cap is an excellent developmental model system, in which generation, differentiation, and degeneration of cells can be investigated in a conveniently compact spatial and temporal frame. In this review, we give an overview of the current knowledge and concepts of root cap biology, focusing on the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana.