Root system: Roots, their types, structure and functions | ORCHIDS
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Parts of a Plant

Root System for Class 4 Science

Through this concept, the students will learn about the root system in plants. After reading the concept, students will be able to:

  • Explain what are the parts of a root.
  • Know about the types of root systems.
  • Analyse primary root and lateral roots.
  • Understand the function of roots in plants.
  • Understand the difference between tap root and fibrous root.
  • Give an example of tap root and fibrous root.
  • Know about root hair function.
  • Label and draw the root system in plants.

Each concept is explained to class 4 students using descriptions, illustrations, and concept maps. After you go through a concept, assess your learning by solving the two printable worksheets given at the end of the page.

Download the worksheets and check your answers with the worksheet solutions for the concept of the Root System provided in PDF format.

What Are Roots?

Roots are the non-leafy part of a plant’s body that grow below the soil. They support the plant body and help to anchor the plant to the ground. The roots also help in the absorption of nutrients from the soil. We also see several types of modified roots, like floating roots and aerial roots.

plant root

Parts of a Root System:

The root system consists of the primary root and all its parts.

Primary Root:

  • It is the main trunk of the root system that grows underneath the soil layer.
  • All other parts of the root system emerge from the primary root.

Lateral Root:

  • These roots emerge horizontally from the primary root.
  • They grow and form the branching pattern of the root system.

Root Hair:

  • These are hairy outgrowths that arise a few inches above the root cap.
  • These hairs absorb nutrients and water from the soil layers.

Root Tip and Root Cap:

  • The end of the root is called the root tip that remains protected by a cap-like structure called the root cap.
  • The cap protects the delicate root tip from injury as it pushes through the soil.
  • The cells of this region constantly divide and form new cells, and for this reason, the root grows downward and penetrate deeper into the soil.
 parts of the root system

Functions of the Root System:

  • Anchorage and Support: Roots provide physical support to the plant by anchoring it to the soil.
  • Absorption: Root hair help the plant absorb water and nutrients from the soil. After the water is absorbed, it gradually moves to the different parts of the plant.
  • Transport: Roots have specialized cells that help conduct water and nutrients upwardly to the stems and leaves.
  • Storage: Some roots act as a storage organ. For example, the roots of carrots and sweet potatoes store food in them. Some desert plant roots are capable of storing water in them.

Types of Roots:

Roots are basically of two types—Tap root and fibrous root.

Tap Root Fibrous Root
  • It is the primary root.
  • It persists throughout the lifetime of a plant.
  • Found in dicot plants.
  • This type of root grows very deep into the soil.

Example: Carrot and beetroot.

  • This root can develop from any part of the plant.
  • This root does not persist throughout the lifetime of a plant.
  • Found in monocot plants.
  • This type of root does not grow very deep into the soil.

Example: Grasses and lilies.

Tap root

Types of Tap Root:

plant root
Conical: Carrot
carrot root
Fusiform: Radish
white radish
Tuberous: 4 o’clock
napiform root
Napiform: Turnip

Types of Fibrous Root:

curcuma root
Nodulous: Curcuma amanda
prop roots of banyan tree
Prop root: Banyan
betel root
Climbing: Betel
root of dodder
Parasitic: Dodder

New Words:

Monocot: The seeds of these plants cannot be divided into two equal halves.

Dicot: The seeds of these plants can be divided into two equal halves.

Did You Know?

root vegetables
  • Carrot, radish, beetroot, turnip all are root vegetables.
  • Even sweet potato is also a root vegetable that is loaded with nutrients.
dicot seed
  • Sweet pea is a dicot plant as we can break its seed into two equal halves.
monocot seed
  • Corn is a monocot plant because we cannot break its seed into two equal halves.
stilt root
  • The roots grow above the soil in mangroves, epiphytes, and certain orchids.
mind map on root system
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