Modifications of Roots

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Roots are modified into different forms to perform specific functions rather than their normal functions. Modifications in roots are found in both tap root system and adventitious root system.

Tap Root Modifications

The primary or tap root becomes swollen with food materials, while the secondary roots remain thin and help in absorption. They are the following types;

Table Showing Tap Root Modifications.




Conical root

Swollen root is broad at the base and gradually tapers towards the apex/tip giving the appearance of a cone


Fusiform root

Swollen root is spindle-shaped with a swollen central/middle region and narrow towards both the ends


Napiform root

Storage root is swollen and globular at the base and tapers abruptly at the apex, giving a top-like appearance


Tuberous root

Storage root does not have any specific shape, thick, fleshy and is irregular

Mirabilis jalapa, Helianthus

Modifications of Adventitious Roots

Adventitious roots are not developed from radicle but these types of roots are developed from other parts of the plants. Adventitious roots are modified for storage and many other functions like additional support, nutrition and respiration.

Other Special Functions

  • Assimilatory roots for the photosynthesis

  • Epiphytic roots for the absorbing atmospheric moisture

  • Sucking roots or haustoria for the sucking nutrition from host

  • Pneumatophores for the better gaseous exchange

  • Floating roots for the buoyancy and respiration