Root System



•    The parts of the plant that anchor plant to the ground and remain under the ground (roots) form the root system.

•    Root systems are mainly of two types:


Tap root system:

•    In the tap root system, a single root (called the primary root) comes out from the seed after germination.

•    Tap roots are also called true roots.


•    Later, smaller roots called lateral roots branch out from this primary root.

•    Mango, Neem, Pine, Sheesham, Pea, Carrot, Radish, Turnip, and Beetroot are examples of plants in which tap roots are found.


Fibrous root system:

•    Fibrous roots grow from the base of the stem, and have a bushy appearance.

•    These roots are thin and almost equal in size.

•    Grass, Maize, Wheat, Onion, Sugarcane, and Rice are examples of plants in which fibrous roots are found.


Functions of Roots:

i.    Anchorage Roots anchor the plant firmly to the soil (mechanical function).

Roots anchor the plant firmly to the soil and absorb water and mineral salts from the soil

ii.  Absorption Roots absorb water and mineral salts and conduct them upwards (physiological function).

iii. Special functions By undergoing modifications in their structure, roots perform special physiological functions like:

•    Food storage

•    Absorption of atmospheric moisture

•    Sucking food from host plant

•    Gaseous exchange


Root Modifications:

•    Roots of some plants are modified to perform additional functions.

•    For storage of food, the roots of some plants, such as radish, carrot, turnip, sweet potato, and beetroot, store food and become fleshy.

•    For climbing, some plants have climbing roots that help the plant to climb up a support such as a wall, rock, or tree, e.g., money plant, black pepper, and betel.

Money plant

•    For nutrition, plants such as dodder have specialized roots called parasitic roots arising from their stem, which help them to absorb water and nutrients from the host.


•    Roots of plants such as dahlia and asparagus can develop into new plants.


•    For extra support, root of plants such as Bamboo, Sugarcane, and Banyan give out additional roots from their branches.

•    These roots grow downwards and give extra support to the stem of the plant. These are called prop roots.

•    The great Banyan tree in Sibpur, Kolkata is more than 200 years old, forming a crown of over 404 metres in circumference and has about 1600 prop roots.

Banyan tree