Understand the Definition, Types, and Functions of Roots

Functions of roots – Sinaumed’s, you surely already know that roots are a very important part of a plant and have many functions and structures. Plant roots themselves are formed from several different tissues.

In general, roots develop below the soil surface, but there are also some plants whose roots are above the ground. Roots also consist of two types of roots, namely taproots and fibrous roots.

However, have you ever thought about the function of roots? Before we find out more about the function of roots, consider the following explanation regarding the meaning of types, properties and parts of roots.

Definition of Root

Roots are the main part besides stems and leaves in plants that grow towards the ground. Roots have two main tissues, namely the outermost and the innermost. The first layer is usually called the epidermis, this section will later become a row of dense cells and functions as a protective structure.

While the deepest part can be known as the cortex. In this tissue, it usually consists of several layers that are thicker than the epidermis.

Usually, the roots are not green, but depending on the type and also the size. Generally, the roots are brown to whitish in color and if reclassified the roots have different properties and characteristics.

Functions of Plant Roots

Roots have important functions to help the growth of plant life such as:

  • Absorb Water and Nutrients In Soil

The main function of the roots is to absorb both organic and inorganic nutrients needed by plants. These nutrients will be absorbed into other parts. Plants really need water in general about 80%. The root itself can be regarded as one of the organs in plants that can absorb and store water to be used for growth in a plant or tree.


  • Plant Intermediaries and Supports

Another function of the root is to support the plant, with the roots the plant can stand upright above the ground. The roots will grow lengthwise so they can support the plant when the size of the plant gets bigger so it will get stronger. So that the plants will not be easily damaged or even fall when there is even a strong wind.

  • Storing Food and Nutrition

In addition to absorbing nutrients and water from the soil, roots also function to transport nutrients and can store them in the form of food reserves before being distributed to other plant parts. Examples of plants that store food in roots are tubers such as cassava, potatoes, taro, and others.


  • Vegetative Reproduction

Some types of plants reproduce with the help of roots, such as ferns. This type of plant will reproduce itself by duplicating, then it will start to reproduce.


  • Photosynthesis Process

It turns out that photosynthesis in plants is not only carried out in the leaves. Roots also function to assist the process of photosynthesis in plants because roots also have chlorophyll although the amount is not as much as the chlorophyll in the leaves. Because of that, the roots can also carry out the process of photosynthesis.


  • Respiration Tool

In some plants, such as banyan trees and tobacco, roots also function as a means of respiration or respiration. The roots of these plants generally have a function as a means of respiration or better known as pneumatophores. In this case, the structure of cells and tissues in the roots allows for air diffusion to occur. Mangrove plants also use their roots as a means of respiration.

  • Plant Movement

Furthermore, roots also function as plant movements because they help get a source of water, nutrients and sunlight so that they grow and reproduce as well as possible.

In general, this plant movement already has its own mechanism. For example, thigmotropism, hydrotropism, geotropism, and phototropism.


  • Preventing Floods and Landslides

Not only does it function for the plant itself, the roots also function to maintain the balance of the environment. The roots of a large tree will be able to absorb quite a lot of water. So that the roots can prevent flooding and help absorb flood water faster than in an environment where there are not many trees. Strong and large roots will also help prevent landslides.

Types of Roots

Not only taproots and fibrous roots, but there are several other types of roots that you should know about.

  • Fiber Root

The first type of root is the fibrous root, this root has a fibrous shape. Usually the size of the base and the tip of the root is almost the same size. At the root of the fibers there are usually only root hairs and root fibers and all parts of the root fibers originate from the base of the stem.

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In addition, this type of root is usually owned by monocot plants, but can also be found in dicot plants that are developed through grafts or cuttings.

This root has its main function, which is to strengthen the establishment of the plant.

Examples of plants that have fibrous roots are coconut trees, rice, papaya trees, corn, onions, banana trees, sugar cane, greetings of bamboo plants, sedge grass and others.


  • Tap root

The type of taproot has a main root or large root. This root has small branches but not only has the main root and root branches, this root also has other parts such as the root hair and root cap. The difference between the size of the main root and root branches will be obvious.

This type of root is generally owned by dicot plants and has the main function of storing food reserves.

Taproots are also divided into two types, namely taproots with little or no branches which usually have a shape like a spear, top and thread. In addition, there are branched taproots that you will often encounter, such as banyan trees, cotton trees, guavas, kale plants and others.

In general, examples of plants that have taproots are green beans, carrots, peanuts, embarrassed daughter, tamarind, durian trees, mangoes, oranges, mahogany trees, star fruit, and various tubers and others.


  • Stump Root


These roots are roots that grow and develop above the ground. These roots will come out of the tree trunk and the lowest branches. Examples of plants that have this type of root are mangrove plants and mangroves.

Mangrove plants usually have many types of roots such as stilt roots, respiratory roots, knee roots, plank roots, buttress roots and common roots.


  • Hanging Root

Hanging roots are roots that come from plant stems that grow and develop downwards, so they will hang in the air. This hanging root will grow long into the ground to find a source of water and nutrients.

The function of this hanging root is to absorb moisture and gas from the air. However, when the hanging roots grow long down and into the ground, their function will also change, namely to absorb water and mineral salts from underground.

Examples of plants that have this type of root are banyan trees, scorpion orchids and curtain ivy.


  • Attachment Root

Attachment roots are roots that grow along the stems of plants and have a function to attach to walls or other plants. These roots are found in plants that grow climbing or vines.

Examples of plants that have this root are betel and pepper.


  • Respiratory root

Breath roots are roots that usually grow straight up and are shaped like a pencil or a cone. These roots are formed from the expansion of roots that grow horizontally. The shape of this root has many gaps for air to enter which functions to help plant respiration.

An example of this breath root is the api-api tree, which can be considered as its habitat around the coast and is also included in the mangrove or mangrove group.


  • Pseudo Root

Pseudo root is a part (organ or tissue) that exists in plants but is not considered as a root in anatomy even though it has a role like a root. This type of root can attach to certain objects using tools and has the function of attaching, anchoring and absorbing mineral salts.

Root Properties

As explained above that roots consist of several different types of roots. Each of these roots will have different properties and characteristics as well. Here are the properties and characteristics of roots.

  1. Roots usually experience movement from underground to find water or food sources. In fact, the roots can get closer to the water source and also away from sunlight.
  2. Roots have hairs which are unicellular in nature.
  3. Plant roots do not have buds, internodes, and nodes.
  4. At the end of the root can experience good growth.
  5. Plant roots can live on the wall (vertical) or horizontally (vertical)
  6. Roots that can grow well, if you get the right environment and planting medium.
  7. It has no leaves or scales.

Structure of the Root Section

Roots certainly have a structure of parts where each will have its own benefits. The structure of the root itself is divided into two, namely the inner root structure (anatomy) and the outer root structure (morphology). The following is an explanation of the structure of the roots.

  • Deep root structure

  • Root epidermis

This part of the root consists of a layer of tightly packed cells with cell walls that allow water to pass easily. Therefore this section is also often referred to as the epiblem or the pilifer layer. Root hairs are formed from several parts of the epidermal cells that will elongate laterally from the outer wall.

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The epidermis is very permeable to water because it has semipermeable properties. In addition, the epidermis also has a function to protect the underlying tissue.


  • Cortex

This root structure is under the epidermal layer which is mostly built by parenchyma, collenchyma and sclerenchyma tissue. This cortex has a function as a place to store food.

Cortical cells themselves are composed of sparse, so there will be a lot of space between cells to carry out gas exchange. The cell wall that differentiates into the exodermis from thickening by suberin is on the outer layer of the cortex. While the inner layer differentiates into the endodermis.


  • Endodermis

This root structure is the layer separating the cortex from the central cylinder. In this section the cells that are composed will experience thickening of cork and lignin so that they will form caspary bands. Thickening of the cell wall that occurs in the caspary band will form the letter U. 

The fine thickening made on the endodermis cannot be passed by water. That way, water can only enter through the central cylinder where the walls don’t thicken.


  • Central cylinder or Stele

Is the deepest part of the root, This section is the layer that is located in the middle of the root. Inside the stele are wood vessels or xylem and sieve tubes or phloem. Xylem and phloem play a major role in the transport of water and minerals. Xylem transports water from the soil to the leaves, while phloem transports the results of the photosynthesis process to all parts of the plant.

Stele consists of several types of networks, namely:

  • Pericycle or Perikambium, the outermost layer of the stele. Then the root of this branch is formed from the growth of the percycle that goes outward.
  • Vasis, is a vascular bundle consisting of xylem and phloem. Both are arranged alternately. Especially for dicot plants, between xylem and phloem there is cambium tissue.
  • Pith is a network of roots that is located in the deepest part of the stele.


  • Outer Structure of Roots

  • Root neck

This section is also known as the base or column. This section is the part that is connected to the base of the stem

  • Root stem

The root stem is also called the corpus radicis. This part is the part that lies between the root neck and the root tip

  • Root branch

The branching of the root is known as the lateral root. this part is the part that is directly connected to the base of the stem but comes out of the main root.

  • Root fibers

Another name for root fibers is radical fibrilla. This section has a fibrous shape of fine root branches.

  • Hair or root hairs

Root hairs are also known as root hairs or pilus radicals. This section is part of the surface expansion of the root epidermis layer which functions to optimize the absorption of water and mineral nutrients.

  • Root cap (kaliptra)

Root caps are also called calyptras. Is a root structure that can be said to be very strong, this is because it is able to break through several layers of hard soil. It is located at the very end of the root through the soil which serves to protect the roots from mechanical damage. Calyptra cells that contain starch grains are called columella. Kaliptra can be found in the roots of dicot or monocot plants.

Direction of Root Growth

According to the direction of growth, roots are divided into 2 types, namely geotropic roots and hydrotropic roots. The following is an explanation of the 2 types of roots.

  • Geotropy

Plants that have geotropic roots have a root system that grows and goes towards the center of the earth or into the ground. Most plants that grow on the ground and above sea level are of the geotropic type.


  • Hydrotropy

Plants that have hydrotropic roots have roots that grow toward the water and away from air and light. Examples of plants that have these roots are various kinds of aquatic plants.

Well, Sinaumed’s is an explanation of the function of roots and other explanations about roots. We already know that the root is the most important part of a plant.

If Sinaumed’s wants to read about books about plants or roots or other books, Sinaumed’s can read and buy his books at sinaumedia.com . To support Sinaumed’s in adding insight, sinaumedia always provides quality and original books so that Sinaumed’s has #MoreWithReading information.

Author: Christin Devina


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