Adventitious Roots


The root system of a plant is composed of the primary, lateral and adventitious roots (ARs). Lateral roots always develop from roots, whereas ARs form from stem or leaf‐derived cells. AR formation is part of the normal development of the plant and occurs naturally, like in most monocotyledonous for which they constitute the main root system or in many dicotyledonous species that propagate vegetatively. Adventitious rooting is an essential step for vegetative propagation of economically important horticultural and woody species as it allows clonal propagation and rapid fixation of superior genotypes prior to their introduction into production or breeding programmes. Development of ARs is a complex process that is affected by multiple endogenous and environmental factors, including phytohormones; light; nutritional status; associated stress responses, such as wounding; and genetic characteristics.

Key Concepts:

  • ARs are the main root system for monocots.

  • ARs are an adaptative response to environmental changes.

  • ARs are required for vegetative propagation of plants.

  • ARs arise from any organ of the plant but the root.

  • ARs originate from different cell types depending on the organ or the species.

  • ARs can be induced by ECMs or Agrobacterium rhizogenes.

  • ARdevelopment is controlled by environmental factors.

  • Adventitious rooting is an age‐dependant process.

  • Auxin cross talks with other hormones to control adventitious rooting.

  • Adventitious rooting is a complex quantitative genetic trait.

Keywords: vegetative propagation; adventitious roots; plant hormones; biotic factors; abiotic factors

Figure 1.

In vitro cuttings of hybrid aspen (Populus tremula×Populus tremuloides) showing ARs. Photograph taken by Dr. Irene Perrone.

Figure 2.

Removal of the primary root (Phaseolus vulgaris) starts the development of roots on stems (ARs) within 12 h. Within 48 h, cells that eventually will divide and form new root tissue become very dense and take up stain differently to adjacent nondividing cells (day 2). By day 4, cells are clearly dividing to form a new root (day 6). Magnification 100×. Photographs taken by Ms. Janet Reiber.

Figure 3.

Auxin and other hormones control adventitious rooting. Red arrows indicate positive effects on adventitious rooting, whereas the blue lines indicate inhibitory effects. The dashed lines indicate alternative observation in the presence of exogenous auxin.

Figure 4.

In Arabidopsis thaliana hypocotyl, auxin reduces the pool of JA through the action of ARF and GH3 genes, thereby downregulating the COI1 signalling pathway that negatively controls AR formation.



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Bellini, Catherine(Jan 2014) Adventitious Roots. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0002061.pub2]