STARTING STRONG WITH A TAP ROOT

The taproot is the largest, most central, and most dominant root part in a plant. Typically a taproot is generally straight and in most plants very thick with a tapering shape, and grows directly downward. In plants with taproot systems, it is the central root from which other roots sprout laterally. The taproot contrasts with the adventitious or fibrous root system of plants with many branched roots, but many plants that grow a taproot during germination, go on to develop branching root structures, although some of the plants that rely on the main root for storage may retain the dominant taproot for centuries.

Examples of some plants with taproot are; Burdock, Dandelion, Kudzu, Parsnip, Patterson’s Curse, Poppy ,mallow, Radish, Turnip, Carrot ,Green alkanet, Sturt’s Desert, Pea Welwitschia and many others. Some of the plants also enjoy the advantage of having a taproot with the extensions of fibrous roots. Such plants are like carrot, beetroot, turnip, radish and dandelion. It is also worth noting that most of the plants with dicotyledonous seeds have tap root system.

One of the most interesting parts is trying to understand how the taproot develops. This development starts from the radicle of a seed, forming the primary root as the seed is germinating. It branches off to secondary roots, which in turn branch to form tertiary roots. For most plants species the radicle dies some time after seed germination, causing the development of a fibrous root system, which lacks a main downward-growing root. Most young plants begin life with a taproot, but after a few years of growth the main root system changes to a wide-spreading fibrous root system with mainly horizontal growing surface roots and only a few vertical, deep-anchoring roots.

Basically, the surrounding environment will influence the development of the plant’s root system. Such conditions are like the soil, humidity of the area and ground cover of the land i.e swamp or rock cover. Soil characteristics strongly influence the architecture of taproots; for example, deep rich soils favor the development of vertical taproots in many plant species, while clay soils promote the growth of multiple taproots.

The major querry most people would have is wondering what the purpose of a taproot is yet the plant will develop other root systems. To start with, the taproot acts as the main root during growth. It is the provider of anchorage as the plant grows at its young level. The taproot provides support to the plant enabling it to grow upwards when germinating. The taproot also purposes as the point of absorbing minerals and other requirements from the soil needed for the plant to germinate. One will notice that the taproot is modified to a sharp like tip and penetrates deeply into the soil. This is just one of plants adaptations to help it grow.

In most cases, a taproot can be considered as a very essential part of the plant. This is by weighing on the purpose it serves to hold a plant in position and also considering that during germination, most of the plants do require it.

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