All flowering plants (angiosperms) have either a taproot or fibrous root system, do you know the difference?

A taproot system occurs when a primary root develops from a radicle (the first part to leave the seed in a seedling during germination) and becomes dominant.  Roots that develop from this one are called lateral roots and those that come from any other part of the plant (leaves, stem) are called adventitious roots.  A fibrous root system is comprised of adventitious roots branching from the stem of a plant.  These roots grow down and out and will continually branch out creating one thick group of thin roots but as such often don’t penetrate deeper levels of compact soil.

The taproot system benefiting from a large dominant root will dig deeper than the others in order to better anchor the plant and reach water and nutrients from deeper sources while all other roots stem from it.  This typically leads to a taproot system being much deeper rooted than a fibrous root system.  A fibrous system, being shallow rooted, also becomes more susceptible to drought but will often absorb surface fertilizer quicker and better reaps the benefit of a water irrigation system.  Grass is a good example of a fibrous system, in which it’s roots do a great job of anchoring the plant and preventing soil erosion with its shallow roots while a taproot would stand a better chance of staying grounded somewhere that has shifting medium like on a beach or sand dune.  An example of a plant utilizing the taproot system is a carrot, which itself, is the plant’s taproot.  A Ficus is a plant well known for its fibrous root systems often sporting large numbers of adventitious roots.

If you’d like to know more about the difference in systems, facebook message us or comment and we’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have.


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