How are Taproots and Fibrous Roots Different

Taproots and fibrous roots are the two main types of roots in angiosperms.  They are classified based on their origin, development, and branching pattern. The main difference between taproots and fibrous roots is that taproot refers to the main root and its branches, which grow deep into the soil whereas fibrous root refers to the fine hair-like roots, which spread in all directions close to the surface of the ground. The main function of tap roots is to anchor the plant to the soil while absorbing water and nutrients from deeper sources. Fibrous roots give the plant ability to respond quickly to the fertilizers.

Key Areas Covered

1. Facts about Roots of Angiosperms
     – Types of Roots, Function
2. How are Taproots and Fibrous Roots Different
     – Difference Between Taproots and Fibrous Roots

Key Terms: Angiosperms, Dicots, Fibrous Roots, Main Root, Monocots, Taproots

How are Taproots and Fibrous Roots Different - Infograph

Some Facts about Roots in Angiosperms

Roots are one of the most important structures of plants. The root system of a plant is developed from the radicle of the plant embryo. The main function of roots is to absorb nutrients and water from the soil. Roots provide support to the plants by attaching them to the soil. Some roots are involved in food storage such as carrots, beets, etc. The two main root systems of angiosperms are taproots and fibrous roots. Taproots and fibrous roots are shown in figure 1.

How are Taproots and Fibrous Roots Different

Figure 1: Taproots and Fibrous Roots

How are Taproots and Fibrous Roots Different

Though the main function of both taproots and fibrous roots is to absorb nutrients and water from the soil while providing support, there are several differences between taproots and fibrous roots. Below described are these differences.


Taproots are found in dicots such as trees, many flowering plants, and shrubs. However, fibrous roots are found in monocots such as reed (tall grasses) and grasses.


Taproots consist of the main root or the primary root of the dicots and its lateral branches called secondary roots, tertiary roots, etc. Fibrous roots consist of fine, hair-like roots.


Taproots develop from the radicle, which is the embryonic root. Fibrous roots can develop from the stem or leaves.


Taproots are deep-rooted, and they are underground persistent roots. Fibrous roots are shallow, and they can be underground or aerial. They are short-lived roots.

In Droughts

Taproots help to endure droughts since they can reach much deeper sources. Fibrous roots cannot survive in droughts.

Main Function

Taproots are responsible for absorbing nutrients and water from deeper sources. Fibrous roots can efficiently absorb fertilizers. Fibrous roots also prevent soil erosion.


Taproots and fibrous roots are the two main types of root systems in angiosperms. Taproots are mainly found in dicots. They consist of the main root and its branches that run deeper into the soil. Fibrous roots are mainly found in monocots. They are fine hair-like roots, which grow near the surface of the soil.


1. “Plant Root Types: Fibrous Root Vs.Taproot System.” CropsReview.Com, .

Image Courtesy:

1. “Tap and fibrous root” By Cassandra gonzales – Own work via

About the Author: Lakna

Lakna, a graduate in Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, is a Molecular Biologist and has a broad and keen interest in the discovery of nature related things

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