Difference Between Rhizome and Root

The major components of a plant are leaves, stems, and roots. Additionally, they are of various types and differentiate variably in terms of structure and function.


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Rhizome vs Root

The difference between rhizome and root is that rhizomes are horizontal stems growing below the earth, while the root is the anchor of the plant and holds the plant to the ground. A rhizome is a modification of the stem, while the root is an essential part of the plant.

Rhizome vs Root

Rhizomes are the stem modifications that grow horizontally below the earth. They have nodes, internodes, buds, and small leaves. Their main function is the storage of food.

Roots are an essential part of the plant and hold the plant to the ground. It consists of the primary root, secondary root, root hair, and root tip.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonRhizomeRoot
MeaningStem modifications that grow horizontally below the earth.Anchor of the plant that holds the plant to the ground.
CategoryModified stemRoot system
FunctionStorage of food and vegetative propagation.Absorption of food, storage of food, prevention of soil erosion, and holds plants in place.
ExamplesPoison oak, bamboo, asparagus, cast iron plants, Calathes.Every plant has roots.
Examples(edible)Ginger, turmeric, lotus.Turnip, carrot, radish, beetroot.

What is Rhizome?

Rhizome word comes from a Greek word that means ‘to take root’. Rhizomes are horizontal stem that grows underground. It is a modification of the stem. It sends out roots and stems from its nodes.

Rhizomes-when present in the plant, acts as the first stem. They grow beneath the ground without any exposure to light. Rhizomes are sometimes also called rootstalk or creepy rootstalk.

Rhizome’s prime function is the storage of food (carbohydrate, proteins, and other nutrients) which makes their structure thick.


What is Root?

Roots anchor the plant to the ground and hold them in place. Their main function is to absorb water and nutrients from the earth for the plant.

There are two types of roots: the Taproot system and the Fibrous root system. In the tap root system, the one roots known as the primary root grows vertically, and many other small secondary roots grow from them.

Roots have a root cap to protect the root tip. The root tip helps the new cells to grow and helps the root to dig deeper in the ground. The root cap also helps in the movement of the root.

The function of root hair is to absorb water and mineral from the ground and transports them to the upper parts of plants. Roots can also be used for the storage of food, as in cases of rhizomes.


Main Differences Between Rhizome and Root

  1. Rhizomes are rare, while the root is found in every plant.
  2. Rhizome helps in the vegetative propagation of the plant, while roots do not help in the reproduction of plants.
Difference Between Rhizome and Root


  1. https://journals.ashs.org/hortsci/view/journals/hortsci/41/3/article-p536.xml
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23499378?seq=1
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