Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Zobel, Richard
item Waisel, Yoav

Submitted to: Plant Biosystems
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/16/2009
Publication Date: 6/2/2010
Citation: Zobel, R.W., Waisel, Y. 2010. A PLANT ROOT SYSTEM ARCHITECTURAL TAXONOMY: A FRAMEWORK FOR ROOT NOMENCLATURE. Plant Biosystems. 144(2):507-512.

Interpretive Summary: Ongoing and future research on plant roots may provide high impact solutions to current and future world wide food scarcities. To do this scientists working in many different specialties with differing plant species need to be able to communicate with each other. A root morphology based root system architectural taxonomy using four different root classes is presented. The taxonomy establishes a basis for further taxonomical development. This taxonomy also obviates the current confusing terminology and provides ease of classification and a uniform communication nomenclature.

Technical Abstract: Research into root system morphology over the last two centuries, has developed a diverse set of terminologies that are difficult to apply consistently across species and research specialties. In response to a need for better communication, a workshop held by the International Society for Root Research established some nomenclature standards for root research. These standards and their justification are presented here. A framework for a root system architectural taxonomy is created by defining four main classes of root: the tap root which is the first to emerge from the seed; lateral roots which are branches off other roots; shoot-borne roots which arise from shoot tissues; and basal roots which arise from the hypocotyl which lies at (between) the base of the shoot and the base of the tap root. It is concluded that adherence to this taxonomy will reduce confusion and eliminate some of the current confounding of results.

Last Modified: 05/22/2017
Footer Content Back to Top of Page