10 Key Difference between Shoot Apex and Root Apex with Table

What is the difference between shoot apex and root apex?

Plants have growing stems and roots. The part that is experiencing growth in plants is the roots and stems. The root and shoot possess meristematic tissues known as apical meristem.

The core difference between shoot apex and root apex is that shoot apex grows above the ground while root apex grows towards the ground.

difference between shoot apex and root apex

What is a Shoot Apex?

Shoot apex is the terminal part of the stem. It is responsible for the production of nodes and internodes. Branches also arise from the shoot apex exogenously.

What Is a Root Apex?

Root apex is the terminal part of the root. It is responsible for protecting the root cap and branches tend to develop endogenously. They are comparatively short.

Comparison Chart: Shoot Apex Vs Root Apex

Basic Terms Shoot Apex Root Apex
Tropic Positive phototropic Positive geotropic
Apical meristem Terminal position Sub-terminal position
Adaptation Protected by the crown of young leaves Protected by the root cap
Shape Dome-shape Cup-shape
Cell Differentiation Comparatively more Comparatively less
Quiescent center Absent Present
Length Relatively long Relatively short
Nodes and Internodes Present Absent
Branches Develop exogenously Develop endogenously
Organization Can be explained through tunica corpus theory Can be explained through histogen theory

Core Differences between Root Apex and Shoot Apex In Point Form

  1. Shoot apex show positive phototropic while root apex show positive geotropic
  2. The apex meristem in shoot apex is located in the terminal position while root apex in the subterminal position
  3. Shoot apex tends to be quite long while root apex tends to be quite short
  4. The organization of the shoot apex can be explained by tunica corpus theory while root apex can be explained by histogen theory.
  5. The branches of the shoot apex develop exogenously while those of the root apex develop endogenously
  6. Cell differentiation occurs more in shoot apex while root apex is quite less
  7. Shoot apex are protected by young leaves while root apex is protected by the root cap
  8. Shoot apex have dome-shape while root apex has cup-shape
  9. Shoot apex lack quiescent while root apex has quiescent
  10. Shoot apex possess leaf primordia while root apex lack leaf primordial

Similarities between Shoot Apex and Root Apex

  1. Both refer to terminal growth
  2. Both contain meristem tissues
  3. Both are primary tissues
  4. Both are protected from mechanical damage

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Comparison Video


The root apex and shoot apex are terminal growth. They contain apical meristem tissues that facilitate terminal growth. The main difference between shoot apex and root apex is that shoot apex shows positive phototropic whereas root apex shows positive geotropic.