The root of a plant is actually a very important organ. It anchors the plant, soaks in minerals and water, and can retain carbohydrates. Some plants, such as most eudicots and gymnosperms, have taproots that penetrate deeply into the soil surface to get water that is not found closer to the ground level. Lateral roots branch out from the main taproot spine.
In contrast to deeply embedded taproots, some plants, such as most monocots, have fibrous roots. Fibrous roots do not have taproots and, instead, form many small roots from the stem. These small roots then form their own lateral roots. Grasses have fibrous roots and, because these roots hold the topsoil in place, are great for preventing erosion.
The tips of roots have tiny hairs where most minerals and water are absorbed. Different from the lateral root organs, root hairs are an extension of root epidermal cells. A lot of plants have root adaptations for added support or anchorage, to store water and nutrients, or to absorb oxygen from the air. The sweet potato shown in the picture is an example of a plant with a modified root. The modified root of the sweet potato functions to store carbohydrates. Carrots and beets are also examples of plants with a modified root for food storage.