Difference Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root

In a plant, the root is a crucial structure, constantly providing the leaves and the stem with all the requires water and mineral salts through the process of photosynthesis that occurs in them. However, different plants exhibit a different root system. The two main types of root systems observed are tap root system and fibrous root system

What Is Tap Root System?

It is a primary root, tapering vertically downwards forming the centre through which subsidiary rootlets branch out. This mass of roots develops from the radicle of the embryo consisting of the taproot, secondary root, tertiary roots and rootlets.

The persistent primary root is the thickest, largest and prominent of all which narrows down towards the tip whereas the secondary and tertiary roots branch out in the first and second order.

What Is Fibrous Root System?

Unlike the tap root system, the fibrous or adventitious root system is the one in which all of the root branches are approximately of the same thickness as typically observed in grasses. It is made of several thread-like strands typically emerging from the stems and does not penetrate deep into the soil. This is because their roots secure firmly to the soil particles.

Difference Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root

The table below lists some of the important differences between Tap Root and Fibrous Root

Tap Root Fibrous Root
Primary root
Presence of a one large and long root One large, long root is absent
Level of penetration into soil
Deeply penetrates Does not penetrate deeply
Differentiation of the primary root
Taproot is the differentiated primary root, which later emerges as the centre of the root system Fibrous root is not the differentiated primary root and is eliminated in later stages
Develops from the stem?
No Yes
Lateral roots
Develop from main root Absent
Dicot plants Monocot plants
Presence in gymnosperms
Yes No
Presence in grass
No Yes
Role as a storage structure
Can store in some cases Does not store
Holding on to soil particles
Formation of a net not observed in order to hold soil particles Forms a network, thereby holding soil particles together at the surface


To learn more about the root system, detailed explanation on the taproot system and fibrous root system and many more concepts, register at BYJU’S or visit the website.


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