What is the Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root

The main difference between taproot and adventitious root is that the taproot is the main root, growing down deep into the soil, whereas the adventitious root (or fibrous root) is made up of a group of roots of similar size and similar shapes. Furthermore, taproot penetrates deep into the soil while adventitious root does not penetrate into the soil deeply. 

Taproot and adventitious root/fibrous root are two types of root systems found in higher plants. The main function of the root system of a plant is to absorb water and nutrients. It is also important to attach the plant to the soil. 

Key Areas Covered 

1. What is Taproot
     – Definition, Characteristics, Importance
2. What is Adventitious Root
     – Definition, Characteristics, Importance
3. What are the Similarities Between Taproot and Adventitious Root
     – Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root
     – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms 

Adventitious Root, Dicots, Fibrous Root, Radicle, Root System, Taproot

Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root - Comparison Summary

What is Taproot 

Taproot is the primary root of dicots, which arises from the radicle, the embryonic root. It becomes the main root of the plant from which the lateral branches including secondary and tertiary roots are developed. These lateral branches are smaller than the main root.  

What is the Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root_Figure 1

Figure 1: Taproot

The taproot persists throughout the lifetime of the plant and it penetrates deep into the soil. Therefore, the water from the deep soil can be absorbed by the taproot. Thus, the presence of a taproot helps plants to tolerate drought conditions better. 

What is Adventitious Root 

Adventitious root or fibrous root is the type of roots in monocots. It arises from the stem or leaves of the plant. Adventitious root has multiple roots developing from a specific point. They can be either underground or aerial.  

What is the Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root_Figure 2

Figure 2: Adventitious Root

These roots are not persistent throughout the lifetime of the plant. Also, they do not penetrate into the deep soil. Therefore, adventitious roots are surface feeders. They can absorb fertilizers efficiently. But, this type of roots cannot tolerate drought conditions well. 

Similarities Between Taproot and Adventitious Root 

  • Taproot and adventitious root are two types of roots found in higher plants. 
  • Their main function is to absorb water and nutrients from the soil. 
  • Also, they attach the plant body to the soil. 
  • In addition, both taproot and adventitious root can store food.  

Difference Between Taproot and Adventitious Root 

Definition 

Taproot refers to the primary root, which persists throughout the life of a plant while adventitious root refers to the root, which develops from any part of the plant except the radicle or its derivatives.

Develops from 

Therefore, one difference between taproot and adventitious root is that while the taproot develops from the radicle, the adventitious root develops from an organ other than the radicle.

Occurrence 

Also, take note that the taproot occurs in dicots while adventitious root occurs in monocots.

Existence

Another important difference between taproot and adventitious root is that the taproot persists throughout the lifetime while the adventitious root is short-lived.

Growth 

Furthermore, an easily identifiable difference between taproot and adventitious root is that the taproot grows deep into the soil while the adventitious root does not grow deep into the soil. 

Significance 

Moreover, the taproot is the main root of the plant from which the lateral branches including secondary roots and tertiary roots are developed while in the adventitious root, a number of roots develop at a single point. Hence, this is also an easily identifiable difference between taproot and adventitious root.

Thickness 

Besides, taproot is the thickest root while the secondary and tertiary taproots have a reducing thickness while adventitious roots have the same thickness. 

Conclusion 

Taproot is the main root of the root system of dicots. It penetrates deep into the soil and is efficient in absorbing water. On the other hand, the adventitious root is the multiple roots arising in monocots. They are surface feeders and are better in absorbing fertilizers. The main difference between taproot and adventitious root is their structure and importance.

Reference:

1. “Taproot.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 9 July 2018, Available Here
2. “The Physiology of Adventitious Roots”. Bianka Steffens, Amanda Rasmussen Plant Physiology Feb 2016, 170 (2) 603-617; DOI: 10.1104/pp.15.01360, Available Here

Image Courtesy:

1. “Plant taproot” By  (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  
2. “Prop roots of maize J2″ By Jamain – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia  

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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