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Difference Between Prop Roots and Stilt Roots

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Introduction to Prop and Stilt Roots

Prop roots and stilt roots are modifications of an adventitious root system to provide more support to the plant and trees. An adventitious root system is a type of root system where roots arise from different parts of the plant, like the stem or leaf. These adventitious roots are further divided into two types, known as the prop roots and the stilt roots.


Prop roots are characterised as aerial roots as they arise from the horizontal branches of the tree. Stilt roots are formed from the basal node of the stem of the plant. They both have their functions to play and, hence, have become an important topic for students. The difference between prop roots and stilt roots lies in their origin of formation.


We will discuss every detail of the prop roots and stilt roots in this article along with some FAQs. This topic is full of facts and should be memorised and revised frequently to remember all the facts.


Aerial Roots and Their Types

Roots that grow from stems above the ground are regarded as aerial roots. There are different types of aerial roots namely,

  • Pneumatophores- These roots generally grow upwards from the roots or downwards from the stem in order to help plants breathe in waterlogged habitats.

  • Haustorial Roots- These types of roots are found in parasitic plants.

  • Propagative Roots- These roots are formed at the nodes of the stems and provide support to the plant.

  • Prop Roots- These roots develop from the branches of the tree and provide support to the trees.


Prop Roots

It is a type of aerial root that is formed from the horizontal branches of a tree. They are also known as columnar roots. They grow in a vertical direction from the branch towards the soil and give the appearance of a hanging root. These roots consist of lenticels for breathing. It is known to provide mechanical support to the tree and its branches. An example of prop roots is the banyan tree.


Stilt Roots

It is a type of root that arises from the basal node of the stem. They don't grow vertically downwards like the prop roots. They are known to grow at an angle to the stem. They are short and thick in appearance and are known to consist of multiple root caps. They are also known for providing support to the plant. An example of stilt roots is mangroves.


Stilt Roots Diagram


Stilt Roots Diagram


Similarity Between Prop Roots and Stilt Roots

Both of these roots share a few similarities as follows:

  • Both the roots, prop roots and stilt roots, are a part of the adventitious root system.

  • Their main function is to provide mechanical support to the plants and trees.

  • They do not grow from the roots of plants or trees.


Difference Between Prop Roots and Stilt Roots


Prop Roots

Stilt Roots

These roots develop from the horizontal branches of the trees.

These roots develop from the basal nodes of the stem.

These roots grow vertically downwards towards the soil.

These roots grow at an angle from the stem towards the soil.

They are long and appear like pillars.

They are thick and short.

These roots are hygroscopic, meaning they absorb moisture.

These roots are not hygroscopic.

Example- Banyan tree, Rubber plant, and many more.

Example- Mangroves, Maize, and many more.


Summary

Prop roots and stilt roots are different types of adventitious roots that are known to perform the function of providing support to plants and trees. Prop root is regarded as an aerial root as it provides support to the branches. The main difference between them lies in their origin of formation. Prop roots are known to arise from branches of trees, and stilt roots arise from the base of the stems.


This article mentions the major difference between prop roots and stilt roots. This is an important topic for class 11, and this article would help students in gaining an understanding of the given topic.

Last updated date: 28th Sep 2023
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FAQs on Difference Between Prop Roots and Stilt Roots

1. Mention the difference between Prop roots and buttress roots.

The prop roots are modified adventitious roots that arise from parts other than the roots, like stems, branches, etc. These roots are known to provide extra support to the plants. These roots are long and slender. The buttress roots generally develop at the base of the trunk of a tree and give a flattened appearance. Though buttress roots are also aerial roots, they are found in shallow, saturated soils. The main function of buttress roots is to stabilise trees in shallow areas.

2. Mention a few important characteristics of the Adventitious root system.

The important characteristics are as follows:

  • Adventitious roots are roots that grow from different parts of the plant.

  • These roots can be aerial or underground.

  • They have different modifications for storage and support.

  • Different types of adventitious roots are pneumatophores, prop roots, stilt roots, and many more.

  • They perform the function of providing a proper exchange of gas for the plants.

  • It also helps the plants absorb water and nutrients during waterlogged conditions.

  • Examples of adventitious roots are potatoes, sweet potatoes and many more.

3. Mention some modifications of Adventitious roots.

Some important modifications of adventitious roots are

  • Tuberous roots are modifications of adventitious roots that perform the function of storage. For example- Sweet Potato.

  • Prop roots are aerial roots that provide support to the tree. For example- banyan tree.

  • Stilt roots are the roots that arise from the base of the plant and perform the function of supporting the plant. For example- sugarcane, maize.

  • Climbing roots are also a type of modification of an adventitious root system that helps the plants to climb on different structures for support. For example- Tecoma.

4. Why is prop root regarded as aerial root?

Many adventitious roots are regarded as aerial roots, one of them is the prop root. Just like the roots are known to provide support to the plant, prop roots are also roots that provide support to the aerial part of the plant or tree. Prop roots arise from the branches of the tree and provide support to the branches. Hence, it is regarded as aerial roots. Prop roots are simple modifications of adventitious roots that provide extra support to the trees.


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