One of the essential parts of a plant is the root system and roots are situated underground of all the vascular plants. This part is responsible for holding the tree strong with the ground and absorbing essential nutrients, minerals, and water from the soil.
We have a fridge for storing excessive food for us, but plants have the roots to store their food.
Why do we water the soil then? This is because plants get all their nutrients from the soil itself through the roots. The food or the nutrients travel through the roots against gravity; that is, it flows upwards from the roots to the shoot.
Well, not all the roots are situated underground. Some roots grow above the ground and are known as aerial roots.
The root system can be placed under two broad categories; the Taproot system, Fibrous root system, and Adventitious root system. In this article, we’ll be learning about fibrous roots.
What is a fibrous root?
Fibrous roots are the roots that are formed by thin, moderately branching roots emerging from the stems. They possess characteristics of monocots because they are universal in monocotyledons, plants, and ferns.
It usually looks like a mat made up of roots when the tree matures. The fibrous roots start to grow a little above the surface of the ground.
If you are confused and cannot identify a plant or tree with a fibrous root, you can do that just by looking at the leaves. The leaves of the fibrous root plants have parallel venation by which you can identify the root type.
As we know, taproots and fibrous roots are opposite types. But then, nature plays a different game here.
Some plants begin their life with a taproot, and when they mature, the root system emerges into a fibrous root system.
Isn’t that something unusual? It’s like having a different kind of personality you used to have in your childhood as a person. The similarity between the taproots and the fibrous roots is that they start growing from a single root.
These single primary roots are short-lived and are replaced by much thin fiber-like roots when the tree grows up and hence, the name fibrous roots. Gradually the roots spread into the soil and grab the underground part firmly. This system saves the strong plants from storms and cyclones.
Types of fibrous roots
Fibrous roots have their division and are mainly three types, namely Fleshy Fibrous Roots, Stilt Roots, and Reproductive roots.
1. Fleshy Fibrous Roots: As we know, roots store food within them, and so do the fleshy fibrous roots. They keep food and become all fleshy and swollen.
It is said that we slowly and steadily adapt to our surroundings. This kind of fibrous root system has come into existence after many evolutions.
These fibrous roots gather the food made by the plant itself, store them, and appear to be swollen just the way our stomachs look when we eat a lot of food! Fleshy roots are further divided into three more types, and they are:
- Tuberous Roots or Single Root Tubers: These give an appearance of a taproot as it’s a single root. They are not of any particular shape or size. These are enlarged lateral roots. Tuberous roots of single root tubers are modified in such a way that they can store food successfully within them—for example, Sweet Potato.
- Fasciculate Roots: These roots appear in clusters. As fasciculate roots also belong under fleshy fibrous roots, the tuberous roots and the fasciculate roots are pretty similar. Fasciculate roots can store the food in the same way, just like single root tubers. The difference lies in appearance. Tuberous roots are singly, while the fasciculate roots appear in clusters—for example,
- Annulated Roots: These roots have ring-like structures all over the surface. It looks like discs placed on each other. Hence, they are referred to as ‘annulated,’ example Ipecac.
2. Stilt Roots: These roots are short and thick and appear from the basal node of a plant, usually from the surface. They obliquely penetrate the soil.
Once they get into the ground, they form fibrous roots and get hold of the soil firmly. These roots are best for absorbing minerals and nutrients from the soil, for example, Sugarcane.
3. Reproductive roots: Reproductive roots produce buds and are thick and fleshy by nature. These buds grow into a whole new plant. Therefore, roots producing new buds from where plants are emerging are known to be the reproductive roots—for example, Sweet Potato.
Functions of fibrous roots:
- Fibrous roots absorb dissolved minerals, nutrients, and water for the plant.
- These are best at storing food made by the plant itself.
- They are known to synthesize the growth regulators.
- They provide support by holding the soil firmly.
Plants with fibrous roots
There are numerous plants and trees with fibrous roots. Earlier in this article, we discussed the different types of plants. Now, let’s read and know about some plants that have fibrous roots:
1. Banyan Tree:
The Banyan tree is our national tree and known to be immortal because it can live up to 1000 years or more. Shocking right? But it is what it is. Trees never stop growing until they die.
Therefore, Banyan trees keep on growing till 1000 years or more. Just think, a tree which keeps on growing for 1000 years should be broad and extensive enough.
The Banyan trees are huge, and for this particular reason, they have fibrous roots. As taproots are single roots, a Banyan tree cannot withstand for so many years with a taproot.
Fibrous root helps those trees to grow vertically inside the soil and has a good grip for helping the tree to stand for an eternity. Fibrous roots spread it underground and hold the soil firmly.
Yes, sugarcanes also require fibrous roots. We have discussed earlier that the roots change their characteristics with time and nature. The sugarcane plants have stilt roots, which is one of the types of the fibrous root.
When the sugarcane plants grow a little higher, the roots become fibrous roots to support them. Tall and thin plants like them need some extra support.
The only support system for these kinds of plants is the roots. Hence, sugarcanes have fibrous roots when they increase in their heights. The best temperature for cultivating sugarcanes is 27 degrees. It grows best in black soil and requires a rainfall of 100-175 cm.
3. Sweet Potato:
Sweet Potatoes originated in Central or South America. Later it reached different parts of the world. Sweet potatoes have fibrous roots, which change their form into tuberous roots.
This is because the roots of this plant store food within them and supply those foods when it is needed. As the name suggests, it tastes sweet and starchy, just like other few root vegetables.
Though maximum sweet potatoes are good for your health, very few can turn poisonous as well. You need to make sure of a few things. The plants cannot tolerate frost. It best grows at a temperature of 24 degrees Celsius with a generous amount of sunlight and water.
Asparagus is consumed as well as used for decorating places. The root type of this plant is fasciculate, and they modify into adventitious roots with time.
Asparagus contains starch in it, and the roots help to store the food within them. They are not big plants, and therefore, the roots are smaller in length.
Why do people consume Asparagus so much? This is because Asparagus is very good for your health.
It has low calories and provides you with a lot of nutrients, including vitamins and fiber. Besides the nutrients, Asparagus also helps in reducing weight, proper digestion, and lowers blood pressure.
5. Screw Pines:
Screw pins have stilt roots, which appear from the basal node of the plant near the soil. Just like sugarcanes, Screw pines are also tall and thin plants that require extra support.
The roots being the only support for the Screw, it appears to be stilt roots for giving them the major support.
It helps the plant to survive during storms and cyclones. For this very reason, Screw Pines grow so much in height. Asparagus are mainly found in the coastline region of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Dahlia has tuberous roots because the roots accumulate starch from the plant and store it until further needs. They form a cluster at the base of the plant’s stem.
Even in Dahlia, the modification takes place. It stores food in clusters. Well, there are 35 kinds of Dahlia in the world. Mainly it is native to Mexico and Central America.
These are very beautiful and gorgeous flowers one can plant in their garden. It grows well in the field as well as in a pot. The stems are leafy and attain a height between 30cm-3m.
The only problem is that it attracts a lot of pests due to its beautiful smell. It becomes difficult to take care of a plant-like Dahlia when it attracts pests and insects.
Again, like sugarcane and screw pines, Maize also has stilt roots because of its height. As they are taller and thin, they require extra support from the supporting system, that is, roots.
Hence, the stilt roots for them. The roots appear from the basal nodes near the soil. These roots help them to stand strongly and firmly. This helps them to avoid natural causes like storms and cyclones.
Maize is commonly known as corn and is found worldwide. Corn is prevalent all over the world. Maize is mainly native to Australia, United States, and Canada. A fascinating fact is that Maize or corn is grown approximately around 1 billion tonnes every year.
The most common and which is found nearly everywhere you go is grass. There are 12,000 species of grass. The roots of grasses are thin and short, which gives the shape of fibrous roots.
They are also known as surface feeders, as the grassroots don’t penetrate the soil deeply.
They are short, and so are their roots. It will be a stunt to know that grasses are vegetable plants for grazing animals. It is one of the best feeders for herbivorous plants. If we start eating grass anytime sooner, we’ll be able to label the grass as a vegetable!
Orchids are beautiful plants that emphasize the beauty of the place where it is planted. Orchids also have fibrous roots. The roots are swollen and thickened like the palm of a human.
Their modification is quite similar to the fingers of a human, which are attached to the plants. Though orchids are wild and exotic, they are also very good and gorgeous house plants.
A very interesting fact about orchids is that they trick their pollinators into pollinating them, and in return, they stick the pollinarium on the visitor itself.
If you take good care, then orchids are immortal. They can live up to 100 years or more. For this, you need your whole family and your upcoming offspring as well. They are mainly found in Central America and South America.
10. Money Plant:
One of the most popular house plants in the world is the money plant. Why is it so famous? It is famous because it can thrive in low light and it is of low maintenance.
It requires water once a week or two. They are climbing plants, and thus, they have climbing roots. These are non-absorptive adventitious roots.
They need support to grow and climb, and you must check the soil before watering it. You can adopt a money plant any day you want. Moreover, it should be best for the people who have more work and less time.
Plants that need strong support usually have fibrous roots. As we know from this article, roots can modify themselves according to their need. Always remember that if you want to know the type of root one’s having, look at their leaf venation.
Whatever the roots are, plants are always cute and close to our hearts. Hence, happy green day to you!