Last updated: May 19, 2021

What Does Taproot Mean?

Taproots are the thick primary root that normally grows straight down under the soil. In most cases, this is the first root that forms from the seed and is the main root anchoring system that the feeding roots grow from. As a result, the taproot provides the most nutrients to the plant. It is also the strongest and largest root and tends to burrow itself deeply into the ground.

A taproot is usually a thick root that tapers gradually. In some cases, a taproot can be forked or be framed by thinner lateral roots.

Plant roots are categorized into three main categories: taproots, branch roots, and adventitious roots.

Taproot system of a plant.


Maximum Yield Explains Taproot

All plants have roots – the serve to supply the plaint with nutrients and moisture, and in the case of plants grown in soil, they help to anchor the plant in place. However, not all roots are the same. Pull up a plant, and you’ll find roots of all sizes and thicknesses, but you’ll most likely find that there is a thicker, longer central root off of which most other roots grow. This is the taproot.

Most plants, including cannabis plants, have a taproot. The taproot is the first root formed from the seed of the plant upon germination, and, while the plant will have other roots, it will remain the longest and thickest. It will also grow the deepest in the growing medium. Think of a carrot – the part that we consume is actually the plant’s taproot.

In some plants, such as carrots or radishes, the taproot is actually an organ that stores the major nutrients and vitamins. As a result, these taproots can be cultivated for eating. Other plants with taproots include parsnip, parsley, dandelion, sugar beet, burdock and beetroot, among others.

Not all plants have taproots, but those that do have specific benefits over those that do not. Because the taproot burrows much deeper into the ground, these plants are generally much more drought tolerant, as they can continue to locate moisture deep in the earth even in dry conditions. A butterfly weed can grow in sand or gravel because its taproot extends beyond the surface and is able to draw water along its entire depth. In addition to its water-gathering ability, a taproot provides additional stability in high winds for tall trees like the oak or ash. Another benefit is that taproots can also store nutrients for the plant, providing nutrition and helping to make plants more self-sufficient.

Of course, taproots also cause some problems. A taproot on a tree like an oak usually isn’t an issue for gardeners, but they can be problematic for weed control. Pulling a dandelion, for example, can be difficult because they generally snap off at the top of the taproot. If the taproot is not completely removed from the soil a new plant will grow from it.


Share this Term

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

Related Reading


Root HealthPlant GrowthPlant TypesPlant Science

Trending Articles

Go back to top
Maximum Yield Logo

You must be 19 years of age or older to enter this site.

Please confirm your date of birth:

This feature requires cookies to be enabled