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Difference between Taproot and Fibrous root

What is Taproot?

A taproot is when there is one main root that grows straight down deep into the soil. It only has very few lateral roots that develop and grow off this main root.

The taproot is a feature of plants that are known as dicotyledons and it is also found in the plants known as gymnosperms.

The taproot is further differentiation of the primary root. The primary root is formed from the radicle of the seedling during development of the seed.

In the taproot system the main root is the largest and longest, and lateral roots are smaller and shorter. A few side roots that are known as lateral roots form from the main root.

A taproot penetrates deep into the soil and in some cases can form a storage organ for food, for instance: carrots, radish, beetroot and turnips.

Advantages of a taproot include the fact that they do penetrate deep into the soil and so can locate water and minerals deep underground, the mesquite plant for instance has roots that can penetrate up to 150 ft. deep in search of water. It is thus very drought tolerant.

The taproot is also good at anchoring the plant into the soil so preventing them from being blown over in windy environments.

Certain weeds such as Dandelion are difficult to pull out because of the taproot.

A further advantage is that they can form, in some cases, storage organs, storing food such as starch or sugars, for the plant.

Difference between Taproot and Fibrous root

What is Fibrous root?

A fibrous root is a root that consists of groups of roots of similar size and length. They do not penetrate as deeply into the soil as does a taproot.

The fibrous root is a feature of plants that are monocotyledons.  Unlike the tap root, the primary root produced during development does not remain, and instead roots, known as adventitious roots, are produced from the stem of the plant.

All these roots forming the fibrous root collectively are of equal size and length.

A fibrous root system does not penetrate deeply into the soil but rather creates a thick network of roots that are good at holding the soil together.

Many types of grasses have fibrous roots, including plants related to grass such as corn.

Advantages of fibrous root systems include that they allow the plant to absorb water and minerals over a large surface area closer to the surface of the soil.

They are also useful in helping prevent or reduce soil erosion since these root systems help hold the soil particles together.

Difference between Taproot and Fibrous root

  1. Taproot consists of one large long root, while this is not the case for the fibrous root.
  2. Taproot penetrates deep into the soil, while a fibrous root is shallow and does not penetrate as deeply.
  3. A taproot is the differentiated primary root of the plant, while the fibrous root is not the differentiated primary root of the plant.
  4. In the fibrous root system the primary root is eliminated, this is not the case in the taproot system.
  5. The fibrous root develops from the stem; this is not the case for the taproot.
  6. The taproot has a few lateral roots that develop from the taproot; this is not the case for the fibrous root.
  7. Taproot is found in dicots, while a fibrous root is found in monocots.
  8. Fibrous root is found in most grasses, while taproot is not found in most grasses.
  9. Taproot occurs in gymnosperms, while fibrous root does not occur in the gymnosperms.
  10. A taproot can sometimes act as a storage organ for food, while fibrous roots cannot store food.
  11. Fibrous root holds many soil particles together at the surface of the soil; this is not the case with the taproot.
  12. The taproot can reach water deep beneath the surface of the soil; this is not the case for the fibrous root.
Table comparing Taproot and Fibrous root: Comparison Chart
TAPROOT FIBROUS ROOT
There is one large, long root There is not one large, long root
Penetrates deeply into the soil Does not penetrate deeply, is shallow
Is the differentiated primary root Is not the differentiated primary root
Primary root becomes the taproot Primary root is eliminated
Does not develop from the stem Develops from the stem
Has lateral roots developing from main root Does not have lateral roots developing from one main root
Found in dicots Found in monocots
Found in gymnosperms Not found in gymnosperms
Not found in most grasses Is found in most grasses
Can act as a storage organ for food in some cases Never acts as a storage organ for food
Does not form a net to hold soil particles together at the surface Does form a network to hold many soil particles together at the surface
Can reach water at great depths Can’t reach water at great depths

Summary of Taproot and Fibrous root

  • The taproot is the differentiated primary root that is thick and grows straight down deep into the soil. A few lateral roots grow off of this main root.
  • The fibrous root consists of several roots of similar size and length that develop from the stem of the plant; the primary root does not remain.
  • Dicotyledonous plants and gymnosperms have taproots while monocotyledonous plants, including most grasses, have fibrous roots.
  • Taproots form a very strong anchor in the ground since they can grow very deep, this also means that they can reach water deep underground and provide good drought resistance. They also are more resistant to wind, and less likely to be blown over.
  • Taproots can be used to store food for the plant in the form of starch, for instance carrots, beets and radishes. Fibrous roots can’t store food in this way.
  • Fibrous roots form a network of roots near the surface of the soil where they absorb minerals and water. They also hold several soil particles together and thus help to prevent or reduce soil erosion.

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2 Comments

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  2. Thank you for such information sire.

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References :


[0]Kilgour, O.F.G. Mastering Biology. London: MacMillan Press, 1982. Print.

[1]Raven, Peter H, Ray F. Evert, and Susan E. Eichhorn. Biology of Plants, 4th edition. New York: Worth Publishers, 1986. Print.

[2]Rye, Connie, Robert Wise, Vladimir Jurukovski, Jean DeSaix, Jung Choi, and Yael Avissar. Biology. Houston: Rice University, 2017. Print

[3]"Image Credit: https://mrwatsonscience.wikispaces.com/Rose_Miranda"

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