Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

Types of Roots in Dicots or Monocots

By Zachariah Wavomba ; Updated January 09, 2018

Roots of monocots and dicots are important in plant growth. Just as stems and leaves have important roles to play, roots provide anchorage for plants. They also permeate the soil to provide storage of energy by absorbing large amounts of water and dissolved minerals.

Tap Root

In most dicots, the radical emerges and forms a prominent tap root. Smaller branches, also known as lateral roots, grow from the taproot. The taproot system is common in conifers and dicots. Some tap roots are modified to tap water deep in the soil, while others -- like beets, carrots and turnips -- are modified for the storage of food. These types of roots also control the growth and development of branch roots, and may sometimes grow longer than those branch roots.

Fibrous and Adventitious Roots

Most monocots consist of a fibrous root system which has a mass of small-sized roots. In monocot plants, the radical root is short lived and later replaced by a number of adventitious roots, which form organs of other roots like the stem. Because the adventitious roots are extensive and cling to soil particles, monocot plants are useful in preventing erosion. Adventitious roots are common in monocot plants, and they start to grow after the germination of the seed. These roots rise above the ground and originate from the stems, branches, leaves or old woody roots. They also occur in pteridophytes and dicot-like plants such as clover, ivy, strawberry and willow.

Aerial Roots

Aerial roots grow above the ground and are almost similar to adventitious roots. These roots are exposed to the air for plant-breathing purposes. Black mangroves have aerial roots because they grow in environments where there is much water in the soil. Ivy plants use aerial roots to cling to structures like walls or to wind around trees. For corn plants, screw pine and banyan trees, aerial roots provide support for the plants. These types of roots are also found in plants like orchids, poison ivy, trumpet creeper and the Virginia creeper, where aerial roots anchor climbing stems to vertical positions and act as supporters for the plants. Some tropical plants like figs naturally develop aerial roots from their branches

Prop Roots

Prop roots are found in monocot plants and are responsible for the transportation of additional nutrients and water to the stem. If the roots undergo secondary growth and become woody, they give support to the plants and prevent trunks from either breaking or sagging. Examples of monocot plants with this type of root system include banyan trees, maize plants, buttress tree and mangrove trees.


About the Author


Zachariah Wavomba started writing professionally in 2007. His articles have appeared in publications such as "Saturday Nation" magazine and "The Standard." Wavomba holds a Master of Arts in international business from the University of Nairobi.