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Home > Science & Nature > Science > Biology > Tap Root and Fibrous Root Compared

Difference Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root

Tap Root vs Fibrous Root

Root is a vital system of the plant body of the Ferns (Pteridophyta) and Flowering (Phanerogamia) plants. It can simply be defined as, part of a plant body, which bears no leaves and nodes. Their basic function is absorption of water and minerals and anchoring of the plant body to the ground. They contribute to prevent soil erosion, as well. Root can be divided as tap root and fibrous root, based on the morphology and anatomy of the roots.

What is Tap Root?

Tap root develops from the radical of the seed, and tap root system is a unique feature of Dicotyledon plants. It grows vertically deep in to the soil. Secondary and tertiary roots originate from the tap root, and they grow horizontally and vertically. Some of the plants store food in the tap root; it is their main food storage space.

What is Fibrous Root?

Fibrous roots are derived from the base of the plant. This root system is available in the Monocotyledons, Gymnospermae (Conifers) and Pteridophyta (Ferns) plants. Most of the fibrous roots grow horizontally and very few percentages of roots grow vertically, to anchor the plant.

What is the difference between Tap Root and Fibrous Root?

With the evolution of plants, fibrous roots were produced first, and they are available in Ferns, Conifers, and Monocots. Tap root system is available only in Dicots, and they evolved later. However, both the root types are true root types.

Tap root develops from the radical of the seed. Therefore, single plant has only one tap root. On the other hand, fibrous root originates from the stem tissue, and single plant consists of hundreds of fibrous roots. Secondary and tertiary roots grow off from the tap root and construct the tap root system. Therefore, different size roots are available in the tap root system, and the tap root is the largest. At the same time, all the fibrous roots are derived from the base of the plant, and they do not branch as tap root does. In addition, they are much similar in size, as well.

Tap root continuously grows deep in to the soil vertically over a long period. So it is much longer and has an extremely large surface area. Therefore, it can anchorage the plant well. On the other hand, fibrous roots do not penetrate in to the soil deeply. They are small in size and anchoring ability is comparatively low. Since tap root grows deeply in to the soil, it has the ability to absorb moisture from the deep layers of the soil.


Fibrous Root vs Tap Root

1. Both tap roots and fibrous roots are true root types.

2. Tap root is unique to Dicots, and fibrous roots are available in Ferns, Conifers and Monocots.

3. First the fibrous roots and thereafter the tap roots were evolved in the plant evolutionary process.

4. Single plant has only one tap root, but a single plant can have many hundred fibrous roots.

5. Tap root develops from the radical of the seed and fibrous root originates from the stem tissue of the plant base.

6. Secondary and tertiary roots grow off from the tap root and construct the tap root system. Fibrous roots do not branch as tap root, and it is a clump of roots derived from the plant base.

7. Tap root is much longer and has extremely large surface area than the fibrous root.

8. Tap root grows vertically deep in to the soil, and fibrous root are short and most of them grows horizontally in the soil.

9. Tap root system anchor the plant well compared to the fibrous root system.

10. Tap root system has the ability to absorb water from deeper layers of soil, but the fibrous root system does not.


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  3. Difference Between Stem and Trunk
  4. Difference Between Vascular and Nonvascular Plants
  5. Difference Between Dicot and Monocot

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