Difference Between Rhizome and Root (With Table)

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. The plant is essentially divided into two parts: the root system and the shoot system. The shoot system is the part that grows above the ground and consists of stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits. The root system is the part that grows below the ground. 

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.

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. Rhizome also helps in vegetative propagation as the nodes of the rhizomes help to grow an entirely new plant.

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. The root serves four functions: absorption of water and nutrients, storage of food, prevents soil erosion and holds the plant to the ground.

Comparison Table Between Rhizome and Root

Parâmetros de comparaçãoRhizomeRaiz
SignificadoStem modifications that grow horizontally below the earth.Anchor of the plant that holds the plant to the ground.
CategoriaModified stemRoot system
FunçãoStorage of food and vegetative propagation.Absorption of food, storage of food, prevention of soil erosion, and holds plants in place.
ExemplosPoison 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. The nodes are perfectly capable of growing a new plant and thus helps in the vegetative propagation of the plant. Sometimes rhizome can be the main stem of the plant, such as in cases of ginger, bamboo, etc.

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. Rhizomes are divided into nodes, internodes, leaves, and buds. The nodes are capable of growing a new plant when they have sufficient storage of food in them.

Rhizome’s prime function is the storage of food (carbohydrate, proteins, and other nutrients) which makes their structure thick. Rhizome also helps the plant in reproduction, as they help in the growth of new plants from their nodes. Some rhizomes can also grow on the ground surface (e.g. ferns and irises). Other typical examples of rhizomes include ginger, poison oak, bamboo, asparagus, cast iron plants, and Calathes.

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. They also help in food storage and the prevention of soil erosion.

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. In the fibrous root system, the roots are not distinguished but rather grow in different directions from one single point. Both of the roots serve the same function for the plant.

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 rest of the root is densely covered with cells and is referred to as the epidermis. Root hairs and smaller hair grow from this part.

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. Such an example is sweet potato. Roots are also modified in some plants. Roots are also edible, and such cases are seen in carrot, radish, turnip, beetroot, and parsnips.

Main Differences Between Rhizome and Root

  1. Rhizomes are underground modification of stem that horizontally grows while roots are the main part of plant’s root system.
  2. Rhizome help in the storage of food and vegetative propagation of the plant. Roots help in the storage of food, absorption of food, water, and other nutrients, helps prevent soil erosion and holds the plants to the ground.
  3. Rhizomes grow horizontally while the roots may grow either way, i.e. either horizontally or vertically.
  4. Rhizome has nodes, internodes, buds, and leaves, while root does not share this structure.
  5. Rhizomes are rare, while the root is found in every plant.
  6. Rhizome helps in the vegetative propagation of the plant, while roots do not help in the reproduction of plants.

Conclusão

All the plant parts play an important role in the growth and development of the plant. The shoot system has its own specifications, while the root system has its own. It is also observed that plant parts modify themselves with respect to their structure, and this also adds new functions to the plant part.

Rhizomes are stem modifications that grow horizontally below the ground. Roots are an important part of the plant, which serves many purposes. The root absorbs water and nutrients and then transports them to the shoot system for photosynthesis to take place. Both roots and rhizomes help in the storage of food. Both have their own specific function and importance in a plant system.

Referências

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