Difference Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root (With Table)

One of the most important parts of the plant is the root. The root plays a vital role in taking care of the growth of the plant. Some of the functions of the root include- creating a strong connection with the soil, absorbing the minerals and water from the soil, transportation of the absorbed materials to the stem, and eventually other parts of the plant.

The most important function is to store the products obtained from photosynthesis. The roots are modified to perform certain specific functions. The modified roots may be aerial roots, taproots, or fibrous roots.

Tap Root vs Fibrous Root

The difference between taproot and the fibrous root is that the taproots are thick roots that would develop only from one part of the plant, mostly being radicle whereas fibrous roots are thin hair-like structures that would develop from any part of the plant.


Comparison Table Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of ComparisonTaprootFibrous Root
LifetimeThe taproot will develop at the time of development of a plant and will last until the plant dies.The fibrous root will not last until the plant dies.
Found inThe taproots will develop in dicots.The fibrous root will develop in monocots.
OriginThe taproots will develop only in radical.The fibrous root will develop in any part apart from radicle.
Depth of growthThe taproot will grow deeper into the soil than the fibrous root.The fibrous root will not grow much deeper into the soil.
ExampleTaproots can be seen in China Rose, grams, etc.The fibrous root can be seen in maize, wheat, grass, etc.


What is Tap Root?

The taproots are the main roots of the angiosperms. They are slender structures that are thicker and will develop from only one part of the plant, radicle. They tend to get deeper into the soil thus helping the plant to anchor to the soil. There will be a main root called as the primary root.

The other roots will develop from the primary root. Thus the primary root that is also called as the main root branches into secondary roots, tertiary roots, etc. The primary roots are usually trunk-shaped. These roots generally tend to grow in a horizontal direction and then will proceed to grow further down. The taproots will help to absorb the water and nutrients from the soil.

More than observing the water and nutrients the taproots have an important function. They are highly helpful for food storage because the taproots have modifications that help them to store food for  long time. This food will be stored in the form of starch and sugar in the primary root of the taproot. The plants that have a taproot system are beetroot, carrot, parsnip, parsley, conifers, poison ivy, radishes, dandelions, etc.

These vegetables will grow underground hence they can store their food in the roots. This prevents the plants from being affected by predators as they remain inside the soil throughout. Hence the root modifications of the taproots are highly beneficial to the plants.


What is Fibrous Root?

The fibrous root is also called adventitious root. The fibrous roots are thin hair-like structures that tend to grow in a horizontal direction rather than growing downwards. Every root in the fibrous root is equal in length and size. The advantage of the fibrous root is that they can grow even from stem, and leaves. Hence the fibrous root can be underground roots or aerial footage. But a greater disadvantage is that the roots are short-lived.

They do not hold up for a longer time. The fibrous roots can not be deep-rooted as that of the taproots hence most of the plants that have fibrous roots can be easily removed from the soil. Since the fibrous roots tend to form a cluster of roots, they help in preventing soil erosion. Every plant will initially start to develop taproots, then later the other bunch of roots will appear.

Hence in the later stage, the roots can not be differentiated into primary root. The plants that have fibrous roots are wheat, bananas, onion, and many other plants. Grasses also have fibrous roots. The fibrous roots will be able to spread like a mat in the soil. This could be seen in Palm trees.

Main Differences Between Tap Root and Fibrous Root

  • When observed on the venation of the leaves, the plants with the taproot system showed reticulate venation of leaves. But the plants that have fibrous root system had parallel venation of leaves
  • The plants with the yap root system will have primary roots that give rise to the secondary roots. But the plants with adventitious roots will have only one type of root which is fragile
  • Plants with taproot system are very difficult to be pulled from the ground as their roots route deeper. But it is easier to pull the plant out of the soil which has the fibrous root
  • The plants that have taproots can survive even under drought conditions. The plants with adventitious roots can not survive in droughts
  • The taproots absorb nutrients and water from the soil whereas fibrous root absorbs fertilizers and they help in the prevention of soil erosion



The plants are alive for a long time only because of nutrition and water. Though the branches of the trees or plants might bear the fruits or flowers that are used the prime source for them is the root.  Also, the plants that take the nutrients have to give them back to the soil. The roots play a major role in these functions.

The modifications in the roots are always helpful to the plants in performing the functions properly. The roots may be buried in the soil but these unseen roots are the major supporters of the plant. They are like the cameraman who is behind the lens to make the best of the events. Similarly, the roots remain unseen but play a vital role in the development of the plants.