Radicle is mainly determined as embryonic roots that help to absorb water, minerals, calcium, and other nutrients from the soil. The nutrients and water are then transferred to different parts of the plants that help in the growth and development of the plant's fruits and flowers.

The embryonic roots that help to transport water and minerals and nutrients to all parts of the flowering plants are determined as the radicles. Radicles can also be further divided into 2 categories: antitropous and syntropous. Radicles generally grow in the depth of the soil and absorb all essential minerals and nutrients that help the plants to prepare their foods in presence of sunlight and chlorophyll in the leaves.

What is Radicle?

The root of the plants gradually develops into strong roots determined as embryonic roots. The embryonic roots of the flowering plants are referred to as the radicle. Radicle is the front part of the embryo that then grew into roots over time. The embryonic roots of the flowering plants grow in the soil depth and help in the absorption of all essential nutrients and minerals from the soil. These embryonic roots or radicles also absorb nutrients like calcium and water. The radicle of the flowering plants can be divided into 2 categories based on the direction of plants’ development growth. The two main categories of radicle are syntropous and antitropous.

Figure 1: Structure of an embryo

The growth and development of radicles that takes place far from the hilum of the plants’ seed are determined as antitropous radicles. On the other side, syntropous deals with the growth of radicles towards the hilum of the plants’ seed.

Functions of radicle

The major function of the radicles of the flowering plants are mentioned below.

  • Roots deal with the functions of transporting water, minerals and nutrients from the soil to all parts of the plants.

  • Radicles help to absorb water and calcium from the soil.

  • Nutrients collected from the soil through radicles are utilized in the growth and development of plants and their embryos.

  • The embryonic root goes deep into the earth, absorbs all essential minerals and nutrients.

  • These radicles transport to the leaves of the plants the collected water. The process of photosynthesis then starts in plants in presence of chlorophyll and sunlight.

  • Radicles as roots also play vital roles in maintaining the water balance in plants, as excess water content can become the reason for plants’ death.

Features of Radicles

Various features and properties can be seen in the embryonic roots of the plants.

  • Radicle is also found within the seed of the flowering plants’ embryos.

  • The colour of the radicle root is generally white.

Figure 2: A mung bean with radicle and embryonic root

  • The foremost parts of the embryonic root gradually grow into strong roots that provide support to the entire plant.

  • Radicle can also be referred to as positively geotropic as it gradually moves deep into the soil.

  • Radicles are referred to as positively hydrotropic as it usually moves towards moisture.

Differences between Plumule and Radicle

Various differences can be found in the radicles and plumule of the plants as mentioned below.

DefinitionThe plant’s embryonic root develops into a plant’s root and is denoted as a radicle.The embryo’s part that grows into a shoot after germination of the plant’s seed is denoted as plumule.
The direction of growthRadicle grows in the depth of the soil.Plumule grows up to the air.
DevelopmentDevelopment of radicle takes place in roots. Development of plumule takes place in shoots
GeotropicPositive geotropic Negative geotropic
PhototrophicNegative phototrophicPositive phototrophic
HypertrophicPositive hypertrophicNegative hypertrophic
ConsequenceRadicle is the seed’s first part.Plumule generally grows after radicle.
ColourRadicles’ colour is white.Plumule’s colour is also white.

Table 1: Differences between Plumule and Radicle


Radicles also provide the plants with support so that they do not get easily uprooted from the earth's surface. The radicles are generally negatively phototrophic as they grow far from the source of sunlight. Syntropous radicles generally grow towards the source of sun and hilum of the plants’ seed. Antitropous radicals are responsible for the growth and development of plants that grows far away from the source of the sun and the hilum of the plant's seeds. Radicle is the foremost part of the embryonic that helps in the development and growth of fruits and flowers of the plants by transferring water, minerals, and nutrients to them.


Q1. What is the function of radicles?

Ans. The major function of radicles is to absorb water, nutrients and calcium from the depth of the earth. It provides the plants with nutrients to survive but also help to maintain water balance.

Q2. What is the major difference between radicle and plumule?

Ans. Various differences are there between plumule and radicle including plumule grows upwards from the soil, and radicles grow downwards and deep into the soil. The growth and development of radicles are found in the root of the plant. The growth and development of plumule can be seen in the shoot of the plant.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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