Agronomy and Horticulture Department


Date of this Version



Published in Plant Physiology, Vol. 20, No. 3 (Jul., 1945), pp. 359-379. Copyright 1945 American Society of Plant Biologists. Used by permission.


Grasses possess two distinct root systems. The primary or seminal root system begins development immediately upon the germination of the seed and consists of one to several main roots and their branches, the number varying with the species. The young plant is entirely dependent upon this primary root system for water and soil nutrients. Later, especially during the period of tiller production, a secondary or nodal root system develops from the lower nodes of the parent culm and from the tillers. The seminal roots are often designated as temporary in general texts and even in special books on grasses. Hitchcock (1) states: "The primary root persists only a short time after germination, its place being taken by secondary roots produced from the nodes of the young culm."