10 Vegetable Plants with Taproots

Vegetable plants with taproots have a large, dominant root that supports the plant’s growth.

In this article I’ve listed 10 common vegetable plants that have taproots, along with some tips to successfully grow these vegetables in your garden. 

taproot vegetables

Taproots grow straight down, which means that they can penetrate deep into the soil to get more nutrients and minerals. 

Small fibrous roots generally grow from the side of the taproot to assist with absorbing nutrients.

In root vegetable plants, the taproot stores water, starch and sugars.

Vegetable plants with taproots are generally more drought tolerant than plants with fibrous roots and the taproots anchor the plants, which protects them from strong winds. 

Plants with taproots are classified according to the shape of the taproot.

  1. Conical Taproot: This is the most common type of taproot, with a wide top that tapers toward the bottom to form a cone shape. Carrots and parsnips both have a conical taproot system.
  1. Fusiform Root: This type of taproot has a wide middle section that tapers toward both ends, forming a rounded or oval shape. Radishes have a fusiform root system.
  2. Napiform Root: This taproot type has a wide top and tapers to form a pointy end. Napiform roots are small, which makes them ideal for small gardens or containers. Turnips and beetroots have a napiform root system.


1. Carrot (Daucus carota subsp. sativus)

Carrots are one of the most common taproot vegetables and they grow best in soft, sandy soil.

If the soil is too hard or lumpy you’ll get carrots with twisted or weird shaped roots.

purple carrots

2. Beetroot (Beta vulgaris)

Beetroots are the enlarged taproots of the beet plant. 

As well as the roots, the beet leaves are also edible.  

RELATED: Beet Plant Growth Stages

beet roots

3. Radish (Raphanus sativus)

Radishes are fast growing taproot vegetables that are ready to harvest just three to four weeks after planting.

Some common radish varieties include watermelon radish, french breakfast and daikon radish.

growing radish plants

4. Jicama (Pachyrrhizus erosus)

Jicama is a starchy root vegetable with a taproot similar to a turnip.

They grow best in subtropical and tropical climates and can be propagated from tubers or seeds.

Jicama root is edible, but the rest of the plant, including the beans, are toxic.

5. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Dandelions are most often classified as weeds, but the roots can be dried and used to make herbal tea.

Dandelion roots can be harvested from late fall to early spring, when the plant is dormant.

Use a garden fork to dig down and gently lift the plant, taking care not to break the long taproot.

dandelion roots

6. Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Parsnips are cream-colored edible taproots that are similar in shape to carrots. 

Parsnips grow best in well prepared, fluffy soil and the best time to harvest parsnips is just after a frost because the cold temperature helps to build up the sugars in the tap root, making them sweeter. 


7. Rutabaga (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa)

Rutabaga, also known as turnips, are part of the cruciferous vegetable family that also includes broccoli and cabbage.  

They have a napiform taproot, which thickens as it grows.  

Turnip root

8. Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris)

Sugar beet plants have thick, white conical shaped taproots that contain sucrose.

They’re best suited to temperate climates and they’re grown commercially for sugar production. [1]

sugar beet root

9. Parsley root

Parsley root, also known as Hamburg parsley, or rooted parsley, is a taproot vegetable that looks similar to a parsnip.

It tastes like a mixture of celery and carrot and it can be eaten raw or cooked.

parsley root

10. Burdock (Arctium lappa)

Burdock is often considered to be a weed but the roots can be harvested to make herbal tea and herbal remedies.

The roots can grow up to 2 feet (60 cm) long and they’re easier to harvest if the soil is loose and sandy.

burdock taproots

So there are 10 different taproot vegetables that you can grow in your garden.

Have you tried growing any vegetables with taproots? Let me know in the comments below.

Are you on Pinterest? I have boards dedicated to Vegetable Gardens and Garden Ideas that you may find helpful. You can also find me on Facebook.

taproot vegetable plants

Kelly Martin

Hi, I'm Kelly Martin, a landscape gardener and designer with over 10 years experience. I have a passion for small space gardening and I love designing and creating beautiful outdoor spaces that maximize the potential of small urban gardens. Read more

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Deborah

    Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge !! So grateful. We are new at this …there is so much to know it can be overwhelming at times .

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