Introduction

An essential part of the plant is the root. It plays an essential part in the well being and the overall growth and development of the plant.

Some of the important functions of the root in the plant include the absorption of water and minerals from the soil, a strong connection between the plant roots and the soil, the photosynthesis process, and the transportation of the minerals and food to every part of the plant.  

Taproots and Fibrous Roots are the 2 different types of roots found in angiosperms. Both of these roots are classified upon their development, origin, and branching pattern. The roots of the plant perform different functions, and there are different parts of the roots that are known as taproots, Aerial roots, Fibrous roots. 

Difference bettwen taproot and fibrous root with plants images
Diagram 1: Types of Roots – Taproot and Fibrous Roots
Image created with the help of biorender

Taproot Vs Fibrous root

Before jumping on to the comparison between the Taproot and Fibrous root, we must check out the main definition of the Taproot and Fibrous roots. So, let’s get started with that first

Taproot root Definition

The Taproot is one of the two important root systems that refers to and goes to the plant’s main roots and branches. The Taproot is when the one root goes straight deep down into the soil. In this, the primary root produces the secondary branches, too, along with the tertiary roots. The tertiary roots go down to the primary root and tapers until the end. 

taproot with labelled diagram primary taproot secondary taproot tertiary taproot
Diagram 2: Taproot with Primary Taproot Secondary Taproot Tertiary Taproot
Image created with biorender

Facts about Taproot 

  • The conical root is placed at the widest top, and then it goes tempering around the lower area of the plant. The Taproot is found in the plant carrot.
  • The taproot system is found in the dicotyledonous plants majorly. The Taproot is identified without the primary root or dominant root. 
  • The main root in the taproot system is the longest and largest, and lateral roots shorter and smaller. 
  • In some species, the Taproot is found in the embryonic phase is replaced by the fibrous root at the 2nd stage.
  • The fusiform root is the widest in the middle, and it grows upwards towards the bottom and the upper side. Plants like Radish contain it. 
  • The seed’s radicle grows to form the primary root during the germination process. 
  • The napiform tapers in the nail towards the bottom of the root. It’s a very wide top and can be seen in the plants like a turnip. 
  • A division in the root plant opens up the branches, widening up the space for absorbing the minerals and water in the soil. 
  • The Taproot grows deep down in a straight line, helping it go deep down to get additional nutrients and minerals.
  • Moreover, the taproot systems are identified and characterized by leaves having reticulate venation. 
  • In some plants like celery, the Taproot can be modified and changed to store the foods, then eaten as vegetables.

Fibrous roots Definition

The fibrous roots are a root that includes the roots of groups of roots that are of similar sizes and lengths.

The fibrous roots are a function of the monocotyledon plants. The fibrous roots don’t grow as deep down as the Taproot goes.

The fibrous roots don’t grow deep down into the root, unlike the taproots. Instead, the fibrous roots create a dense network of roots that helps in creating a strong grip to hold the soil together. 

fibrous root labelled as fibrous root Adventitious in nature image
Diagram 3: Fribrous Root (Adventitious in nature)
image created with help of biorender

The fibrous roots allow the plant to absorb the minerals, water, and food over the large surface closer to the soil surface. Different types of grass produce fibrous roots, and it also includes plants like corn grass. 

Facts about fibrous roots

  • The fibrous root system is mostly observed in fern and monocotyledonous plants.
  • The fibrous root doesn’t contain the primary root; moreover, the roots are not branched into the territory and secondary roots. 
  • Instead of that, many roots directly arise from the stem part and then grow in all directions.
  • These fibrous roots are considered the surface feeders’ plants as these roots don’t penetrate deep down into the soil; instead, they stay on to the surface and over the organic matter. 
  • As the fibrous roots are more strongly placed over the surface, the fibrous roots seem to be an important part of preventing soil erosion as it firmly holds a strong grip over the soil. 
  • One of the notable things about fibrous root is that it grows in the horizontal direction. The 95% of the root is in the top 50 meters of the soil. 
  • After the development of the plant, the fibrous root is formed in the soil as the mat.
  • The fibrous roots might not stand in tough conditions as they cover less surface area and don’t grow vertically; they are comparatively shorter. 
  • The plants having fibrous roots usually consist of the leaves having parallel venation. 
  • The fibrous root system is considered to have evolved before the taproot system. 

Difference between the taproot and fibrous root

Taproot RootFibrous Root
Penetrates deeply into the soil.It doesn’t Penetrate deeply into the soil.
It’s found in dicots.It’s found in monocots.
It’s found in gymnospermsIt’s not found in gymnosperms
In some cases, these can act as a storage organ to store foodIt never acts as a storage organ to store food
Not found in most of the grassesIt is mostly found on grass
The Taproot doesn’t produce a form to hold soil particles at the surface level.The fibrous root does produce a form to hold soil particles at the surface level.
The Taproot can reach the water level at the greater depths It can’t reach the water at deeper levels.
It doesn’t develop from the stem.It develops from the stem.
The Taproot is a differentiated primary rootThe fibrous is not a differentiated primary root
It is one large and long root.There is not one large and long root in the fibrous root.
It deeply penetrates and grows deep down into the soilIt doesn’t penetrate deeply into the soil. 
Taproots are found in grams, and china rose, etc.The fibrous roots are found in wheat, grass, a maize plant, etc.

Summary 

So, taproots and fibrous roots are crucial parts of the plant and have unique functions. The Taproot produces a very strong grip as they reach deep down in the soil. Because they reach a deeper level into the soil, protecting the plant with its good resistance. Moreover, they are also resistant to the wind. On the other side, the fibrous grows its network horizontally to absorb the mineral and water over the surface. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the main difference between Taproot and fibrous root? 

The taproot systems are difficult to pull out from the soil as they penetrate deeper into the soil reaching the water level. On the other side, the fibrous root can be easily pulled because they spread over the surface horizontally. Moreover, the fibrous root is eliminated in the fibrous root, unlike Taproot, where the primary root is present.

Q2. Which root reaches the water levels?

The Taproot can reach the water levels easily.

Q3. On which basis are the taproots different from fibrous roots?

These roots function differently and absorb water and minerals from the soil level. Here is the basis on which the difference is defined:
1. Features
2. Main functions
3. Presence
4. Appearance 
5. Origin
6. In-droughts 

References

  • Pagès, L., & Serra, V. (1994). Growth and branching of the taproot of young oak trees—a dynamic study. Journal of experimental Botany, 45(9), 1327-1334.
  • Silvius, J. E., & Snyder, F. W. (1979). Comparative enzymic studies of sucrose metabolism in the taproots and fibrous roots of Beta vulgaris L. Plant Physiology, 64(6), 1070-1073.
  • Castañeda, V., de la Peña, M., Azcárate, L., Aranjuelo, I., & Gonzalez, E. M. (2019). Functional analysis of the taproot and fibrous roots of Medicago truncatula: Sucrose and proline catabolism primary response to water deficit. Agricultural Water Management, 216, 473-483.
  • Castañeda Presa, V., Peña, M. D. L., Azcárate Górriz, L., Aranjuelo Michelena, I., & González García, E. (2019). Functional analysis of the taproot and fibrous roots of Medicago truncatula: sucrose and proline catabolism primary response to water deficit. Agricultural Water Management, 216,(2019), 473-483.
  • Doussan, C., Pierret, A., & Garrigues, E. (2006). Water uptake by plant roots: II–modelling of water transfer in the soil root-system with explicit account of flow within the root system–comparison with experiments. Plant and soil, 283(1), 99-117.

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