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A ‘Taproot’ is the main root of a plant, having vertical, thick, and long roots. Every root type has different functional roles and characteristics. In this article, we try to bring all the needed information related to the taproot system. 

We often see the plants around us but miss knowing anything about the roots. After reading this article you will get a fair idea about the root system and specifically about the taproot system. 

Table of Contents - 

  • Taproot - An introduction

  • What is a Taproot System?

  • Development of Taproot System

  • Different shapes of Taproot System

  • Advantages of Taproots

  • Limitations of Taproots

  • Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Taproot System?

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 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 some plants which grow as taproot plants during germination will develop branching root structures. Some of them depend on the main root for the storage and may retain the dominant taproot for centuries. 

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 roots in turn also produce 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?

Taproots 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 Taproot System has the following Benefits - 

  • 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 for water in dry climates.

  • It also serves to store the food reserves, which makes them more self-sufficient and resilient. 

  • Better penetration to extract minerals from the soil

  • It serves as a storehouse of nutrients and minerals

  • The trees and plants with taproots have a stronger hold of the soil and are less susceptible to extractions 

Drawbacks of the Taproot System

Apart from the benefits, the taproot system has certain limitations - 

  • 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. 

  • Trees or plants die in the process of translocation of the plants with taproots

  • Taproot once cut cannot regrow whereas other roots grow easily. 

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FAQs on Taproot

1. What is the Rap Root System?

A taproot is the central, large, and dominant root, which offers other roots to sprout laterally. In general, you can consider it as straight, thick, tapering in the shape and it grows directly downwards.

2. What are the different types of roots?

Plant roots are mainly divided into three types - 

  • Taproot- which is thicker, larger, and grows faster than the other two

  • Fibrous root - all the roots are of almost similar size and form a network of roots

  • Adventitious roots - the roots grow in any other place other than the actual place for root growth. 

All the types of the root have their traits, benefits, and functions. 

3. What are the main Functions of the Roots?

In botany, the root is the part of the vascular plant which is usually found underground. The main function of the root is to absorb water and minerals and in conduction of these to the stem. Storage of the reserve food is also the function of the roots like in the carrot root system or tap root system.  

4. What are some of the examples of trees with taproots? 

Some of the plants with the taproot are - Beetroot, Burdock, Carrot, Sugar beet, Dandelion, Parsley, Parsnip, Poppy mallow. Some of the trees with taproot are oaks, elms, pines, and firs. Keep the curiosity intact and find out the names of more plants and trees having tap roots and post the names in the comment box. 

5. What is the difference between a taproot plant and a fibrous root plant?

The difference between the two is very simple and visible, some of them are 

  • The taproot can penetrate deep into the soil whereas fibrous roots are shallow and don't penetrate deep inside

  • Most of the grasses are fibrous and not the taproot system

  • A taproot has a single main root whereas a fibrous root has networks of roots

  • Carrot, beetroot is an example of the taproot, and wheat, rice, and corn are some examples of fibrous roots.

6. Why is it important to study the root system in detail?

Although the roots are the non-visible part of a plant, their functions are very essential for the survivability of a plant. A healthy root signifies the growth of a healthy plant or tree. It is the essential part of the plant for the uptake of water and minerals from the soil. They also hold the plant to the land through their spread in the soil. Thus, to understand plant life, study of botany, and the overall study of the environment it is essential for the students to know about the root which is an important part of the plant system. 

7. Is it necessary for a plant to have roots? 

Roots are an essential part of the plant system as it plays a role in the uptake of minerals and nutrients. However, it is not necessary to have a root in every plant. In other words, not every plant has a root system. The plants which do not have roots are called Bryophytes. Some of the examples are seaweed and algae. More related topics are covered by the subject experts, refer to the related articles on the website or mobile app of Vedantu. 

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