, Volume 189, Issue 1, pp 33-48

Architecture and development of the oil-palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) root system

Abstract

The growth dynamics and architecture of the oil-palm root system are described. Following a transitional juvenile phase, eight different morphological types of roots have been distinguished according to their development pattern and state of differentiation: primary vertical and horizontal roots, secondary horizontal roots, upward growing secondary vertical roots and downward growing secondary vertical roots, superficial and deep tertiary roots and quaternary roots. The relative position of these types of roots determines a morphological and functional unit of the root system called 'root architectural unit' of the oil palm. This root polymorphism enabled us to define a morphogenetic gradient, which reflected the oil-palm root-system ontogenesis.