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Tap-root  [ Botany ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology
 index of names
Synonym: Conical root, Carrot-like root, Central root
  A taproot or conical root is the main tapering often bulky root of a plant growing vertically downward from the stem.  

It forms a single, dominant, axis that penetrates the earth directly downward to a considerable depth without dividing and from which other lateral fibrous roots sprout.

Many taproots are modified to become food or water  storage organs, or are very long for reaching water deep in the ground. (For example, in the carrot)

Typical taproots
conical root : another word for taproot.
fusiform root : tapers at the top and at the bottom, e.g. the taproot of a white radish.
napiform root : is broader than it is long, e.g. the root of a turnip.

Tap root system [ Botany ]
  Plants generally conform to one of two root systems, a taproot system or a fibrous root system.  

A taproot system derives directly from the first root that emerge from a seed  (the radicle or primary root) that enlarges and forms a prominent central root that is called the taproot. The taproot is larger in diameter than the lateral roots. Lateral  roots branch off from the taproot, and subsequent lateral roots can branch off other lateral roots. Taproots generally grow more deeply into the soil than do fibrous roots. It often become a modified storage organ for food reserves such as carbohydrate or for reaching water deep in the ground.
A taproot system, generally found in Dicotyledons and conifers.
Most trees begin life with a taproot, but after one to a few years change to a wide-spreading fibrous root system with mainly horizontal surface roots and only a few vertical, deep anchoring roots. A typical mature tree 30-50 m tall has a root system that extends horizontally in all directions as far as the tree is tall or more, but well over 95% of the roots are in the top 50 cm depth of soil.

 Compare whit fibrous root system







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