8 Difference between Root Hair and Stem Hair with Table

What is the difference between root hair and stem hair?

The main parts of the plants are root and stem. Roots tend to grow downwards in the soil while the stem grows upright above the soil surface. Research shows that stems tend to show positive phototrophic while roots show geotropic movements.

The discussion highlight the core difference between root hair and stem hair with a comparison chart. We have a comparison video that helps to highlight detail structures of the stem hairs and root hairs.

Difference between Root Hair and Stem Hair

What Is Root Hair?

Root hair is a unicellular structure that developed from the outgrowth of the epidermis. They occur in a cluster near the tips of young roots and they take part in the absorption of water from the soil. However, they tend to have a short lifespan.

These parts of the roots are visible with naked eyes and even under the light microscope. These cells do not contain chlorophyll and they are normally replaced new ones as the plant continue to grow.

Characteristics of Root Hairs

  1. They are unicellular
  2. They are tubular outgrowths of epiblema cells
  3. They are always unbranched
  4. Occur in the cluster at the root tips
  5. Have short lifespan
  6. Responsible for the absorption of water and nutrients

What Is Stem Hair?

Stem hair is a multicellular structure that is distributed throughout the stem. They do not come as a result of outgrowth epidermis and they help in the reduction of the rate of transpiration. These stem hairs tend to either branched or unbranched and they have the tendency of having a long lifespan.

Characteristics of Stem Hairs

  1. They are multicellular
  2. They are additional cells
  3. Maybe branched or unbranched
  4. Can spread all over the stem
  5. Have long lifespan
  6. Help reduce the rate of transpiration

Comparison Chart: Root Hair Vs Stem Hair

Basic Terms Root Hair Stem Hair
Meaning It is an outgrowth of root epidermis though it is unicellular It is a multicellular structure on the stem and them in the reduction of transpiration rate
Size Unicellular Multicellular
Structure A tabular outgrowth of epiblema cells An additional cell
Branched or unbranched Unbranched Either branched or unbranched
Spreading Around the tips of the roots Occur all over the stem
Cutinization Not cutinize Heavily cutinized
Function Take part in the absorption of water and nutrients Help to reduce the rate of transpiration
Lifespan Have short lifespan Have long lifespan
Type of movement Geotropic Phototropic

Core Differences between Root Hair and Stem Hair 

  1. Root hairs are unicellular while stem hairs are multicellular
  2. Root hairs are an outgrowth of epiblema cells while stem hairs are additional cells
  3. Root hairs occur at the tip of the roots while stem hairs occur all over the stem
  4. Root hairs are not cutinized while stem hairs are heavily cutinized
  5. Root hairs have a short lifespan while stem hairs have a longer lifespan
  6. Root hairs experience geotropic movement while stem hairs experience phototropic movement
  7. Root hairs take part in the absorption of water and nutrients while stem hairs help reduce the rate of transpiration
  8. Root hairs are unbranched while stem hairs may be branched or unbranched

Similarities between Root Hair and Stem Hair

  1. Both are a lateral extension
  2. Some are unbranched
  3. Both are visible to the naked eyes
  4. Both carry out significant functions to the plant
  5. Both are vital structures of the plant

Comparison Video


The core difference between root hair and stem hair is that root hair is unicellular while stem hair is multicellular. However, they are a vital structural part of the plant and they play vital roles in the plant.

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