Types of Root Systems

Tap Root System

Have you ever pondered why unique flowers have diverse appearances, origins, and growth seasons? Why don’t you look for your favorite marigold blooms throughout the hot summer months? Well, let’s get to know more about that! Plants are physiologically diverse entities that are divided into different categories based on key distinguishing properties. Roots are vital formations that provide a number of functions, however, plants do not all have roots, despite common assumptions. We will go over everything regarding roots in this chapter. Before we go any further, let’s review what morphology should be all about. Moreover, today, in this article we’re going to discuss the types of root systems along with their physiological features and functions. So, let’s get started!

The Roots

The root of a tree or a plant is frequently found underground. It is largely involved in water uptake and absorption. The root system is made up of the root and its appendages. The root system is divided into primary and secondary roots. Taproots, lateral roots, and basal roots are all examples of primary roots in small plants. The lateral extensions of the primary roots are known as secondary roots.

Parts of a Plant

Showing the parts of a plant with Primary and Secondary Roots

However, not every plant possesses roots that develop underground; others have roots that grow above the surface. These are referred to as aerial roots. These roots, like subsurface roots, are important for ingesting nutrients, fastening and adding the plant to elements such as surrounding walls, rocks, terracing, and so on.

Bonsai, Banyan Trees, Mangroves, and other species with aerial roots are a few examples of the aerial roots mentioned above.

Now let’s move on to our subtopic of the root system i.e. the characteristics of the roots. Here in this section, we will explain every feature the roots acquire. But first, have a look at the picture given below to know about the primary and secondary roots.

Characteristics of the Root System or Roots

There are several features that a root system possesses. This section of our article will focus on all the characteristics, a root has. Learning about various characteristics of roots can be important to know its system and functions in a better way.

  • The axis of the plant descends to the root.
  • It has a geotropic quality to it.
  • Its color is generally brown or non-green.
  • Nodes and internodes are not separated from the root.
  • The root is not supposed to develop leaves or tree buds.
  • The root tip is usually shielded by a root cap.
  • The root covers unicellular fringes known as root hairs.
  • Out from the root, adventitious or lateral roots emerge. These come from within the system. We can also say that it originates from the pericycle.

Many plants’ transportation systems would be destroyed if the roots were removed. As a result, you must comprehend the significance of roots. Plants, on the other hand, have several different root systems. Now we’ll take a look at the different types of roots in more detail.

Types of Root Systems

Taproot and adventitious root constitute the two types of roots classified by their genesis.

  • Taproot:

    The radicle increases in size into a primary root, true root, or taproot when a seed germinates. The taproot persists in dicot plants and generates lateral roots including subsidiary roots, tertiary roots, and so on. All lateral roots grow in an acropetal order, with younger roots growing closer to the apex and older roots growing closer to the base. The taproot structure is made up of the base and its branches.

File:Old tap root system.GIF - Wikimedia Commons

Example: Dandelions are a prime illustration; when these plants are plucked from the ground, their taproots normally break off, but the surviving root can sprout another shoot.

Adventitious Roots

Adventitious Roots

Adventitious Roots

Besides the radicle, such are the roots that sprout from any portion of the plant. The taproot of monocot plants is generally short-lived and is quickly replenished by adventitious roots. The adventitious root system is made up of a number of adventitious roots and their branching.

Example: Rice, corn, and wheat are common examples of adventitious roots. Deep root systems are common in plants that thrive in arid locations, while shallow root systems are prominent in plants growing in regions with plenty of water.

The adventitious roots may be classified into three categories based on their origin:

These are a group of fiber-like roots that grow from the bottom of the stem (e.g., rice, wheat, maize, onion, etc.) or through the nodes of lateral stems (e.g., grass, wood sorrel, etc.)

  • Foliar Roots

They develop from the pedicle (e.g., Pogostemon, rubber plant, etc.) or leaf veins as a result of an injury. Hormones can also be used to elicit these effects. Bryophyllum, Begonia, and other foliar buds can develop foliar roots.

Functions of Roots

Primary and secondary functions are performed by roots. All types of roots execute the essential duties, and they are architecturally equipped to do so. Secondary functions are specific and are only executed by those roots that have been changed.

The following are the major roles of roots:

  1. Firmly anchor or secure the plant to the earth to prevent it from being uprooted.
  1. Water and mineral absorption and transfer from the soil to the plant’s aerial components.
  1. By retaining soil particles, you may minimize soil erosion.
  1. Many plants have changed their roots to perform a variety of secondary roles such as food preservation, mechanical support, and numerous physiological processes other than uptake.

Although roots are not reproductive, they are vegetative portions of plants. The roots of certain plants serve as a mechanism of reproduction. In jasmine, grass, and other plants, for example, new plants emerge from migrating horizontal stems known as runners (stolons). Vegetative propagation is the term for this sort of reproduction.


Roots are a vital component of the basic plant system. They are responsible for the proper functioning of the plant system. To know more about the other parts of the plant as well, do read our other related blogs now.

Also Know About Other Plants & Root Examples

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