The part of the plant which is present above the surface of the soil is called Stems, while Roots is the part of the plant which is present below the soil surface. Secondly stems arises from the plumule and roots from the radical of the embryo. Most importantly stems possess leaves, but roots do not.

You are watching: How are roots and stems alike and different


A common flowering plant (vascular plants) possess a well-defined root and shoot system. These are an essential part of the plant and bears many morphological and anatomical differences. Though they both together function in the growth of a plant.

The only similarity between the two is the vascular tissue (xylem and phloem), which are said as the circulatory system of the plant and work in transporting minerals, water and other nutrients from one part other parts.

Of course, there are other parts too, like leaves, fruits, flowers, etc., but they all boil from these two prime wealth. Together these parts demonstrate how vascular plants evolved to inhabit two diverse environments at the same time which are the air and the soil.

Experts believe this was done forge the life successfully as soil provide minerals and water and air provides carbon dioxide and energy from the sunlight and gradually plant evolve this system to grab these resources present below and above the soil.

Hereby, in this content, we will be discussing the difference between the roots and the stems, their features and function, with the general discussion on them.

Content: Stems Vs Roots

Comparison Chart

Basis for ComparisonStems Roots
MeaningIn botany, stems are the part of the plant axis that bears shoots and buds with leaves. The primary function of the stem is to carry water, minerals and food to all parts of the plants.Roots are the part of the vascular plant which is an underground and primary function is to Anchorage the plant and in the absorption of the minerals and water.
Geotropism (growth towards the soil)Stems are negatively geotropic (grow away from the soil) and negatively hydrotropic.Roots are positively geotropic.
Phototropism (growing towards light)Stems are positively phototropic.Roots are negatively phototropic (grow away from the light).
MorphologyStems bear flower, leaves and buds.Roots do not bear flower, leaves and buds.
Stems do not have any shoot tip; rather the stems possess in a terminal bud.Roots have a root cap at the root tip.
Can be unicellular or multicellular, stem hairs are present all through the stems.Unicellular root hairs are present in the cluster, behind the root cap.
Stem hairs work in preventing water loss from the stem surface; they have thick cell walls and long life span than shoot hairs. Root hairs work in absorbing minerals and water from the soil; they have thin cell walls and are short-lived.
Stems are generally green in colour (in young stage). The colour of the root is usually white and grows darker with time.
Stems possess nodes and internodes. Roots do not have nodes and internodes.
Stem branches are superficial or exogenous and develop from axillary buds. Root branches are deep-seated or endogenous, though root branches do not arise from any specific area.
Anatomy In the stem, epidermal cells are cutinized.In roots, the epidermal cells are not cutinized.
The epidermis function in protection.Here the function of the epidermis is to absorb water and nutrients.
The epidermis of young stem possesses stomata.No stomata found.
Cortex usually narrows and is differentiated into inner, middle and outer cortex.Cortex is broad and is undifferentiated.
Chlorenchyma is present in outer cortical cells.Chlorenchyma is absent in roots.
Hypodermis present; no recognizable pattern in endodermis.Hypodermis absent; Endodermis is prominent and distinct.
Pericycle is multilayered (if present) and plays a role in secondary thickening.Pericycle is unicellular and plays a role in secondary thickening.
Vascular bundles are collateral and conjoint; Secondary vascular growth is present by cambium which is by both inter and intrafascicular.Vascular tissue is radial; Secondary vascular growth if present arises from pericycle and conjunctive parenchyma.
Xylem is endarch.Xylem is exarch.
Fibres is present in xylem and phloem.Fibres is absent in xylem and phloem.
The primary function of the stem is of photosynthesis, storage and transportation or minerals and other materials to other parts of the plant. The primary function of the root is anchorage, absorption of water, minerals and salt.


Definition of Stems

Stems are the part of the plant, that possesses buds, leaves and roots at its basal ends. The primary function of the stem supports the leaves and to transport minerals and water to the leaves, where it proceeded to convert into useful products by the process of photosynthesis, and then further these are transported to other parts of the plants including roots.

This process is supported by the xylem (vascular tissue), where the conduction of nutrients and minerals takes place from the site of absorption to other parts. Stems also provide mechanical support for a growing plant.

Definition of Roots

Roots are the underground part of the plant, and the main function is the absorption of water and minerals from the soil, conduction, storage of reserve foods and mainly in the anchorage of the plant. The chief distinction from the stems is the lacking of buds and leaf scars, but have root cap and branches that originate from internal tissues than from buds.

When a seed germinates the primary root or radical is the first part of the plant to appear. It grows under the soil or ground and so-called as positively geotropic and thus anchor the seedling. In the angiosperms (dicotyledons) and gymnosperms, the radical grows into taproot, which grows downwards and the secondary roots grow laterally from it. In plants like turnips and carrots, the tap roots serve as food storage.

On the other hand monocotyledons and grasses have a fibrous root system, which possesses the mass of roots of the same diameter. Adventitious roots are such roots which arise from other organs than roots, like stems or leaves. Pneumatophores found in mangrove species are lateral roots growing in saline mud, these roots grow upward and out of the mud.


Key Differences Between Stems and Roots

Given below points are the essential distinctive one to understand the different features of the stems and the roots:

In botany stems and roots are the most vital part of the plant, where stem bears shoots and buds with leaves. The primary function of the stem is to carry water, minerals and food to all parts of the plants, while roots are the part of the vascular plant which is an underground and primary function is to Anchorage the plant and in the absorption of the minerals and water.Stems are positively phototropic (growing towards the light) negatively geotropic (grow away from the soil) and negatively hydrotropic, whereas Roots are positively geotropic, negatively phototropic (grow away from the light).Stems bear flower, leaves and buds, but roots do not.Stems do not have any shoot tip, rather the stems possess in a terminal bud, while Roots have root cap at the root tip.Stem hairs can be unicellular or multicellular, and are present all through the stems, though in roots, unicellular root hairs are present in the cluster, behind the root cap.The function of the stem hairs works in preventing water loss from the stem surface; they have thick cell walls and long life span than shoot hairs, on the contrary, root hairs work in absorbing minerals and water from the soil, they have thin cell walls and are short-lived.Stems are generally green in colour (in young stage), whereas the colour of the roots are usually white and grows darker with the time.Stems possess nodes and internodes, but roots do not have.Stem branches are superficial or exogenous and develop from axillary buds; on the other hand, root branches are deep-seated or endogenous, though root branches do not arise from any specific area.Anatomically, in stem epidermal cells are cutinized; the function of the epidermis is protection. In roots, the epidermal cells are not cutinized, and here the function of the epidermis is to absorb water and nutrients.In stem epidermis of young stem possesses stomata, the cortex is usually narrow and is differentiated into the inner, middle and outer cortex. In roots, there is no stomata and cortex is broad and is undifferentiated.Chlorenchyma is present in outer cortical cells of the stems, but it is absent in roots.Hypodermis present in stems but no recognisable pattern in endodermis, though hypodermis is absent in roots and endodermis is prominent and distinct.Pericycle is multilayered (if present) and play a role in secondary thickening in stems, whereas it is unicellular and play a role in secondary thickening in roots.In stems vascular bundles are collateral and conjoint; Secondary vascular growth is present by cambium which is by both inter and intrafascicular. In roots vascular tissue is radial; Secondary vascular growth if present arises from pericycle and conjunctive parenchyma.Xylem is endarch, and fibres are present in xylem and phloem in stems, whereas Xylem is exarch and fibres are absent in xylem and phloem in roots.The primary function of the stem is of photosynthesis, storage and transportation or minerals and other materials to other parts of the plant. The primary function of the root is anchorage, absorption of water, minerals and salt.

See more: What Does Csd Mean For Housing Location, Inmate Information


Conclusion

In this article, we studied about the stems and roots, and how they variate from each other morphologically as well in anatomically. We also came to know their functions and importance.