Define taproot - Taproot is the main root of the primary root system, which grows vertically downwards. Most of the dicotyledonous plants like dandelions, produce taproots and some of the roots are edible like carrots and beets, specialized for the storage of the food. Taproot is nearly straight, thicker and taper in the size, in the taproot system roots grow directly downwards.
The Taproot system is completely different compared to the adventitious root system or fibrous root system, but in some plants which grow as tap root plants during germination will develop branching root structure. Even though some of them depend on the main root for the storage and may retain the dominant taproot for centuries.
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Development of the Taproot System
Once the seed is germinated, the first thing to come out of the seed is the root of the embryonic radicle. This primary root is known as the taproot system, the plant with a tap root system has smaller lateral roots known as the secondary root commonly arises from the main taproot. Secondary root in turn also produces even smaller lateral roots known as tertiary roots. These lateral roots help to increase the surface area for water and mineral absorption.
Soil characteristics also influence the architecture of the taproot, for example, the deep and rich soils favour the development of vertical taproots in many oak species such as Quercus Kelloggii. And the clay soil promotes the growth of multiple taproots.
Different Shapes of the Taproot System
The typical shapes of the taproot system include the conical root, fusiform root, and napiform root.
Conical Root -
This type of root is conical in shape and it is widest at the top and tapering steadily towards the bottom for example carrot.
Fusiform Root -
This type of root is widest in the middle and it is taper towards the top and the bottom. An example of the fusiform root is radish.
Napiform Root -
This type of root has a top-like structure. The napiform root is broad at the top and tapers suddenly like a tail at the bottom. An example of this type of root is a turnip.
Which Plant has a Taproot System?
Tap roots are commonly found in plants like beetroot, burdock, carrot, sugar beet, dandelion, parsley, parsnip, poppy mallow, radish, sagebrush, turnip, common milkweed, cannabis, and trees such as oaks, elms, pines, and firs are some of the taproot plant names.
Advantage of the Plants with Taproot System
The plants with the taproot system are very drought tolerant. Plants that grow in the desert can send roots down more than 75 feet in the search of water in dry climates. It also serves to store the food reserves, which makes them more self-sufficient and resilient.
Drawbacks of the Taproot System
The main drawback of the taproot system is that it is so deep in the soil, that it can be very hard to dig and lift a taproot plant. For a suitable example, you can take dandelions in the yard.