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Roots carry out several functions in the plant. The main purpose, however, is to anchor the plant in the soil and absorb water and nutrients. You won’t see the roots of the plants when you look at a plant and it’s only when you pull out a plant from the soil, you will see their root system.
Plant root systems are mainly of two types: taproot system and fibrous root system.
Now, there are some major differences between the two root systems. We have covered the taproot system in our earlier post, today we will discuss the fibrous root system.
What is Fibrous Roots:
The roots in a fibrous root system are much less obvious than a taproot system. Fibrous roots are slender and grow from the stem in a moderate number of directions. These roots do not spread far, but they ensure that the plant has an extensive network of surface area for absorbing water and nutrients.
The root system is composed of thin, moderately branching roots growing from the stem.
Here are some of the characteristic features of fibrous root system:
- Fibrous root system is mostly found in monocotyledon plants.
- They originate from the stems of the plants.
- They are very thin and hair-like.
- The number of fibrous roots are numerous.
- Fibrous roots can be underground as well as aerial.
- There is no differentiation in the fibrous root system.
- Fibrous roots are usually very short.
- Cannot store food.
- Fibrous roots grow mostly horizontally.
- Anchorage is quite feeble in the fibrous root system.
Modifications of Fibrous Roots:
There are mainly 3 modifications of the fibrous roots. They are
- Adventitious roots
- Stilt Roots
- Prop Roots
This root modification happens when the fibrous roots collect and store the food in the roots. As a result the fibrous roots turn into fleshing adventitious roots.
The adventitious roots can be either Tuberous roots or Fasciculated roots.
In the first case each of the roots becomes swollen but they remain separated. Common example of this type of root modification is in the case of sweet potatoes.
In fasciculated roots the roots that store food become a cluster and they also remain very close to the stem. This is a common occurrence in plants like Dahlia.
In stilt root modification the roots appear from the basal nodes of the plants near the soil. The roots are formed by the stem to help the plant hold itself upright.
The Stilt roots grow downward to strengthen the plant’s stem and help it develop a good root system. Most plants form stilt structures when they reach heights of around 1 meter above the soil for supporting themselves.
10 Plants With Fibrous Roots:
Now that we understand the various modifications of the fibrous roots let’s look for some examples. Here are the 10 plants with fibrous roots:
One of the most common examples of a plant with a fibrous root system is the grass. The fibrous roots of grass plants send their way to the soil many feet before anything emerges from the surface.
It can reach up to 6 inches in depth within two weeks. This type of vigorous root growth gives a foundation for the shoots above to grow.
The root system of grasses develops mainly into two types, that is, primary roots and adventitious roots.
The primary roots develop from the embryo during the germination of seed; whereas the adventitious roots develop from nodes of the crown and lateral stems.
Asparagus is a perennial plant, with an underground stem and strong and fibrous root system. At the beginning of spring, the bud starts to produce spears, which are edible parts of asparagus.
The fibrous roots of the asparagus plant are called fasciculated fleshy fibrous roots. They store food for later use. The fleshy adventitious roots appear in clusters at the base of the plant. Asparagus roots are usually quite shallow.
Another very common example of fibrous root system is sweet potatoes. It originated from South America and is populated throughout the world.
The sweet potato root system is made of fibrous roots that absorb nutrients and anchor the plant. As the plant matures, thick pencil roots are produced that become lignified.
Maize and sugarcane display stilt roots. The lower nodes of maize and sugarcane stem elongate to form adventitious root fibers that are called stilt roots. These roots provide extra support to the plants that are weak in nature. Mostly, the roots get thicker as the plant gets taller.
Dahlia is originally from Mexico and Central America at large. Many of the dahlia species feature modified fasciculated fleshy fibrous roots.
The roots are fibrous and fleshy. It grows from the bottom of a stem and attaches to the ground. These roots can be found in bunches such as the root clump near the soil.
Orchid roots are fascinating. These fibrous roots are different from the roots on your other houseplants. The inside core of the roots is very tough. The outer covering on their roots is sponge-like which absorbs water, fertilizer, and oxygen making it easier to grow orchids.
Orchids are mainly epiphytes, meaning they grow on trees, where the roots attach to the plant securely, search out nutrition, absorb dew and rainfall among other things.
You can grow orchids inside your house. It is easy and fun to do.
Pothos plant is small in size and has a shallow fibrous root system. They are also known as devil’s ivy or money plants.
The roots of a pothos plant are called adventitious roots. These roots arise on any part of the stem and offer the plant support it needs to cling on to any support.
The adventitious roots first develop to obtain nourishment from the substratum. And in later stages, it develops the primary root to obtain nourishment from the soil.
Bananas have a fibrous root system. Like most plants they also get their support and nutrients from the soil through the roots.
However, banana plants also get support from hundreds of rhizomes that grow from rhizomes; these give rise to suckers, which are the complete unit of rhizome, sucker, and fibrous roots. The rhizome, suckers and their fibrous roots form a mass of roots known as the mat.
Take care of those roots and you can easily grow banana plants in your home.
The onion has a fibrous root system consisting of 20 to 200 shining white, comparatively thick roots. Some of them spread horizontally just beneath the surface.
As onions have a shallow root system, the roots can not get water from the depth of the soil and take it mostly from the surface and little beneath. Which means while watering, you need to make sure the base of the plant doesn’t become dry.
Garlic roots are slender, elongated and are very delicate. The fibrous roots extend from the base of the developing, underground bulb. A mature garlic plant has about 40 – 60 fibrous roots that are very strong.
Apart from its intense flavor and culinary uses, garlic is a very good insect repellent and is used widely in companion planting. Go give garlic a try, here are some useful tips to help you out.
Fibrous roots are a major benefit if you’re working in a smaller garden. These plants don’t need a lot of width for their large root system to spread out and obtain all the nutrients and water they need.
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