Dicot Roots vs. Monocot Roots

What's the Difference?

Dicot roots and monocot roots are two types of roots found in flowering plants. Dicot roots have a taproot system, which means they have a main root that grows vertically downwards and gives rise to lateral roots. Monocot roots, on the other hand, have a fibrous root system, where the roots are thin and numerous, spreading out in all directions. Dicot roots have a central core of xylem and phloem tissues, arranged in a distinct pattern, while monocot roots have scattered vascular bundles. Additionally, dicot roots often have secondary growth, allowing them to increase in girth over time, while monocot roots do not exhibit secondary growth. Overall, dicot roots and monocot roots have structural and functional differences that reflect their distinct roles in plant growth and development.


AttributeDicot RootsMonocot Roots
Primary GrowthPresentPresent
Secondary GrowthPresentAbsent
Taproot SystemPresentAbsent
Fibrous Root SystemAbsentPresent
Root HairsPresentPresent
Root CapPresentPresent
Vascular BundlesArranged in a ringScattered

Further Detail


Roots are an essential part of a plant's structure and function, providing support, anchorage, and nutrient absorption. They come in various forms and exhibit different characteristics depending on the type of plant. Two major categories of roots are dicot roots and monocot roots. While both serve similar functions, they have distinct attributes that set them apart. In this article, we will explore and compare the attributes of dicot roots and monocot roots.

Root Structure

Dicot roots, as the name suggests, belong to dicotyledonous plants. These plants typically have two cotyledons or seed leaves. Dicot roots have a taproot system, which means they have a primary root that grows vertically downward and gives rise to lateral roots or secondary roots. This taproot system provides strong anchorage to the plant and allows it to penetrate deep into the soil. On the other hand, monocot roots belong to monocotyledonous plants, which have a single cotyledon. Monocot roots have a fibrous root system, where numerous thin and branching roots emerge from the base of the stem. This fibrous root system spreads horizontally rather than growing deep into the soil.

Root Anatomy

When we examine the internal structure of dicot roots, we find distinct regions. The outermost layer is the epidermis, which is responsible for absorbing water and nutrients. Just beneath the epidermis, we have the cortex, which stores food reserves and aids in the movement of water and minerals. The endodermis, a single layer of cells, surrounds the vascular cylinder, which contains the xylem and phloem tissues. The xylem transports water and minerals from the roots to the rest of the plant, while the phloem carries sugars and other organic compounds from the leaves to the roots. In monocot roots, the anatomy is slightly different. The epidermis, cortex, and endodermis are present, but the vascular tissue is scattered throughout the root rather than forming a distinct cylinder.

Root Growth

Dicot roots exhibit a pattern of primary and secondary growth. Primary growth occurs at the root tip, where cells divide and elongate, pushing the root deeper into the soil. Secondary growth, on the other hand, occurs in the lateral roots and increases the girth of the root system. This secondary growth is responsible for the thickening of dicot roots over time. In contrast, monocot roots primarily undergo primary growth, with limited secondary growth. As a result, monocot roots do not thicken significantly and maintain a relatively uniform diameter throughout their lifespan.

Root Function

Both dicot roots and monocot roots serve similar functions, but their specific adaptations differ. Dicot roots, with their taproot system, are well-suited for plants that require strong anchorage and access to deep water sources. They are often found in trees, shrubs, and many flowering plants. The taproot system allows dicot roots to penetrate deep into the soil, providing stability and the ability to reach water reserves during dry periods. Monocot roots, with their fibrous root system, are better adapted for plants that require efficient absorption of surface water and nutrients. They are commonly found in grasses, cereals, and other herbaceous plants. The fibrous root system spreads out near the surface, allowing monocot roots to capture water and nutrients from a larger area.

Root Examples

Examples of dicot plants with taproot systems include carrots, radishes, and dandelions. These plants have a prominent primary root that grows vertically downward, with lateral roots branching off. The taproot system allows them to anchor firmly in the soil and access deep water sources. In contrast, examples of monocot plants with fibrous root systems include grasses, wheat, and rice. These plants have numerous thin and branching roots that spread out near the surface, enabling them to efficiently capture water and nutrients from the topsoil.


In conclusion, dicot roots and monocot roots have distinct attributes that reflect their different evolutionary adaptations. Dicot roots possess a taproot system, exhibit secondary growth, and are well-suited for deep anchorage and water absorption. Monocot roots, on the other hand, have a fibrous root system, primarily undergo primary growth, and are efficient in surface water and nutrient absorption. Understanding the characteristics of dicot roots and monocot roots helps us appreciate the diversity and complexity of plant life, as well as their ability to thrive in various environments.

Comparisons may contain inaccurate information about people, places, or facts. Please report any issues.