Have you heard someone say that they were going to put their roots down in a new town? A plant’s roots keep it in place and prevent it from moving; that’s where the saying comes from.
This lesson will teach you about the types of roots.
What Do Roots Do?
A man grows a giant turnip, but he can’t pull it out, so he goes and gets help. Now he pulls on the turnip plant and his wife pulls on him. Eventually he gets the kids and the pets and finally a mouse. The turnip comes popping out, but it took effort. This is a children’s story, but the turnip they were fighting was actually a root.
A turnip is just one type of root but before we can discuss the types of roots, let’s talk about what a root does for a plant.First, the roots act like a hose to bring water and nutrients to the plant. Most roots lie below the ground and absorb water and minerals from the soil and bring it to the other parts of the plant. That’s why you put plant fertilizer in the soil around a new plant.Second, the root’s job is to hold the plant in place. The reason the wind doesn’t blow a tree right over is because the roots hold it in place.
Some roots are used to store nutrients and even seeds. Have you ever pulled a carrot plant out of the ground? A carrot has a kind of root that holds much of its nutrients underground.
Types of Roots
There are four main roots types, and they have different functions and purposes:A taproot forms one long, large root that sprouts from the seed. Taproots can be long and thick, and smaller sprout roots can grow off the main root. These smaller roots usually remain small.
Plants like carrots, dandelions, and tulips have a taproot.A fibrous root is very different. Instead of one single, large root, there are many smaller roots that branch out in different directions. The roots also tend to stay nearer to the surface instead of going deep down, making it easier for them to be pulled up. A fibrous root can look like a kid with bedhead and a lot of hair.
Some trees start out with a taproot, and that taproot grows into a fibrous root. Trees like palm trees have fibrous root systems.Aerial roots are root systems that grow above the ground.
They are not as common a type of root system. There are different types of aerial roots as well, depending on the type of plant. Aerial roots do not grow down in the soil. Ivy and vines are an example of aerial roots, where the plant uses other plants or hard surfaces to cling to.Storage roots are roots in plants that store a good portion of their nutrients in the roots below the surface.
Think of how delicious a baked potato is. The potato you are eating is actually a storage root of the potato plant. Most of the plant’s nutrients are in the potato root, which sits below the soil. Beets and ginger are other examples of storage roots.
The root of a plant is designed to store and bring nutrients to the plant as well as hold the plant in place. There are four main types of roots that a plant can have: Taproots are long and deep; fibrous roots are thinner and shallow; aerial roots are above the ground, and storage roots store most of a plant’s nutrients.