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Nikita Parmar

Updated on 24th July, 2023 , 6 min read

Fibrous Root: Definitions, Examples, Characteristics, Functions, Types, Modifications, and Differentiation

Fibrous Root Overview

The opposite of a taproot system is a fibrous root system. It is widespread in monocotyledonous plants and ferns and is created by thinfairly branched roots developing from the stem. When the tree has reached full maturity, it resembles a root mat. Most trees start off with a taproot, but after a few years, they develop a fibrous root system with mostly horizontal surface roots and only a few vertical, deep anchoring roots. A typical mature tree 30-50 m tall has a root system that spreads horizontally in all directions as far as the tree's height or more, yet 95% of the roots are in the top 50 cm of soil.

What is a Fibrous Root?

Fibrous roots grow close to the ground's surface and are seen in leaves with parallel venation. As a non-row crop, forages have a fibrous root structure that aids in erosion control by attaching the plants to the top layer of soil and covering the whole field. The roots of a fibrous root system develop downward into the earth and branch off sideways throughout the soil. Because the embryonic root dies back while the plant is still young and developing, this results in a mass of fine roots with no identifiable tap roots.

Fibrous Root

Examples of Fibrous Root

A few examples of plants having fibrous root systems are as follows-

  1. Above the earth are the aerial roots of the nodal roots.
  2. Both of these root systems are fibrous, with several roots that begin in the same spot and do not branch out.
  3. Maize contains an embryonic root system with primary, radicle, and seminal roots, as well as a post-embryonic root system with shoot-borne roots known as nodal roots.
  4. Maize is one of the most significant plants due to its fibrous root structure, parallel venation in leaves, and monocotyledonous seeds.
  5. These branches are essential for anchoring the plant.
  6. The embryonic root system develops from the embryo's radicle, whereas the post-embryonic root system develops from the stem's final few nodes.

Characteristics of Fibrous Root

The following are some of the characteristics features of fibrous roots-

  1. Fibrous roots are seen in leaves with parallel venation.
  2. Fibrous roots do really develop near the ground's surface. 
  3. Fibrous roots serve to prevent soil erosion since they are attached to the top layer of soil.
  4. The slender roots are about the same size.

Functions Fibrous Root

The following are some of the functions of fibrous roots-

  1. Absorption of water and minerals from the soil.
  2. Fibrous roots sprout from the base of the stem or the nodes of a horizontal stem instead of the seed's radicle. 
  3. Food that has been set aside is kept in storage.
  4. Give the plant a place to stand while preventing soil erosion.
  5. Plant growth regulators are produced.
  6. Plant roots have evolved to provide a number of functions, including support, food storage, and reproduction.
  7. The three forms of root systems include taproot, fibrous root, and adventitious root systems.
  8. Fibrous Root Storage Alteration: Tuberous Root of the Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas). Dahlia, Annulated Roots Ipecac Stilt Mechanical support is provided by maize (Zea mays) and sugarcane (Sachchurum official rum) roots.
  9. Asparagus and Fasciculated root are all examples of edible plants.

Types of Fibrous Root

Fibrous roots are classified into three types, which are as follows-

Annulated Roots

These roots are characterized by ring-like swellings. The swelling of the root looks like a series of disc-like rings stacked one on top of the other. 

Ipecac is an excellent example.

Fasciculated Roots

It is a kind of inflated, irregularly shaped root. They may also be used to keep food in. 

Dahlia, for example, or Asparagus-Asparagus officinalis.

Tuberous Roots

These roots develop singly and are swollen and irregular in form. They are just larger lateral roots that store food.

Example: Sweet potatoes include Ipomoea batatas.

Read more about the Father of Botany.

Fibrous Root

Modifications of Fibrous Root

Roots are adapted to accomplish various plant activities such as support, food storage, and respiration. A few of the fibrous root system's alterations are mentioned below-

  1. Fleshy fibrous roots for storage: Fleshy fibrous roots are adaptations to the fibrous root structure used for food storage. They contain nourishment made by the plant, which causes them to become fleshy and bloated. 
  2. Reproductive Roots for Vegetative Propagation: These roots form buds and participate in vegetative propagation. These buds eventually evolved into a distinct new plant under favorable conditions. Examples: Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), Dahlia.
  3. Stilt Roots for Mechanical Support: Stilt roots are modified roots that are used to provide mechanical support. It grows from the lower nodes of the stem in monocots. It grows downward obliquely into the earth. They grow fibrous roots after piercing the earth. They offer support to the plant's primary axis. For Example: Maize-Zea mays, sugarcane-Sachchurum official rum, and so on.

Fibrous Root

Read more about the Monocot Roots and Gemmules.

Difference Between Fibrous Root and Tap Root 

The distinction between taproot and fibrous root is easily characterized by their structure-


Fibrous Root 

Tap Root


Fibrous roots are secondary roots that stretch out from the stem in all directions.

A taproot is a single, big main root that grows directly down from a plant's stem. 


The fibrous root cannot withstand drought.

Taproots can tolerate drought conditions.


Because all roots in a fibrous root system grow from the stem, there is no distinction.

The primary root develops into secondary and tertiary roots in the tap root system.


The fibrous root cannot withstand drought.

Taproots can tolerate drought conditions.


Because the fibrous root develops horizontally in all directions, it does not penetrate deeply into the soil.

Taproot develops vertically downward, allowing it to penetrate deep into the earth.


During the evolutionary process, the fibrous root gave way to the taproot.

The taproot system emerged before the fibrous root system.

Food Preservation

Food is not stored in fibrous roots.

Some tap roots, such as those found in radishes and carrots, serve as food storage.

Growth in Soil

Because the fibrous root develops horizontally in all directions, it does not penetrate deeply into the soil.

Taproot develops vertically downward, allowing it to penetrate deep into the earth.

Length of the Roots

The fibrous root system has shorter roots.

The taproot system has longer roots.


Fibrous roots are more effective than taproots at supplying water and nutrients to a plant's leaves. This is due to the fact that they are thinner and more spread out, allowing them to reach all regions of the plant.

Nature of Roots

The fibrous root system has thin, hair-like roots.

The taproot system has thicker roots than the fibrous root system.

Number of Roots

Multiple fibrous roots may exist in a plant with a fibrous root system.

A single plant has only one taproot.



The plant base's stem tissue gives rise to a fibrous root system.

During germination, the Taproot system grows from the embryo's radicle.


Fibrous roots are seen in monocotyledonous plants.

Taproots are found in dicotyledonous plants.

Position of the Roots

Fibrous roots can be either subterranean or aerial.

Taproots are always found below the ground.

Surface Area of the Roots

The taproot has a larger surface area than the fibrous root system.

Taproot systems have a considerably greater surface area than fibrous roots.

Water Absorption

As it penetrates deeper into the earth, fibrous roots absorb water more efficiently.

The taproot system improves the absorption of water and minerals by the taproot.

Read more about the Difference Between Monocot and Dicot Roots.

Points to Remember

  1. Coconut palms, wheat, rice, and grasses are examples of fibrous root systems.
  2. Fibrous roots are thin, branching roots that grow from the base of the stem.
  3. Fibrous roots help prevent soil erosion because they are attached to the top layer of soil.
  4. Fibrous roots, unlike taproots, exhibit little or no secondary development.
  5. The fibrous roots are horizontal and widely dispersed, with just a few deep, vertically downward roots.
  6. The majority of trees produce taproots at germination, but as they mature, the taproots are gradually replaced by fibrous roots.
  7. The presence of fibrous roots distinguishes grasses from monocotyledons.
  8. The roots are pretty branching, but once completely mature, the tree takes on a mat-like look.
  9. The slender roots are all the same size.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do trees have fibrous or taproot roots?

Ans. Contrary to common perception, most trees do not have taproots. When the water table is near the surface or the soil is compacted, most trees generate fibrous roots.

What is an example of a fibrous root?

Ans. A fibrous root system forms a thick network of roots at the surface of the soil. A taproot system is illustrated by a carrot. Grasses with fibrous root systems include wheat, rice, and maize. Dicots have tap root systems, whereas monocots have fibrous root systems.

What is the purpose of fibrous roots?

Ans. The fibrous roots aid in the absorption of soil water and nutrients.

What is the distinction between a taproot and a fibrous root?

Ans. Taproots are strong, straight roots that grow deep into the soil, whereas fibrous roots are thin, fairly branching roots that stretch horizontally to anchor the top surface of the soil.

Is the root of the mango fibrous?

Ans. Mango grows on any tree with a tap root, which means it grows on any tree with a tap root. Tap roots are exceptionally thick in comparison to other roots.

What are the benefits of fibrous roots?

Ans. One of the benefits of fibrous root system growth is that it is highly useful in erosion management since the roots help retain soil in place. The roots may also hold moisture for the plant, and their vastness ensures that the plant receives plenty of nutrients and water.

Is the coconut root fibrous?

Ans. In contrast, the coconut tree has a fibrous root structure. The root system of a coconut tree is made up of a fibrous root that grows from the base of the stem and offers adequate anchoring as well as efficient water and mineral absorption.

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