Vegetative propagation is a process in which plants undergo asexual reproduction through vegetative parts of plants (roots, stem, or leaves) called propagules. This unique process helps plants reproduce without the formation of flowers and seeds. It is a method in which one parent plant is involved to regenerate itself to form a new plant, known as a clone, which is genetically and morphologically identical to its parent plant. Fragmentation and regeneration are the two prominent means by which a plant reproduces asexually. There are two types of vegetative reproduction, namely, natural and artificial. Vegetative reproduction by roots is categorized under natural methods of vegetative propagation.
Natural vegetative propagation by roots
Natural propagation is defined as the natural reproduction of new plants without any human interference. Some of the tuberous roots can be propagated vegetatively with the help of buds present on the roots, which can grow as leafy shoots (slips) or adventitious buds to develop new pants. Examples of plants propagating by roots are explicated as follows.
1. Sweet potato
Sweet potato, scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas, is a dicotyledon plant which belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals and also promote Gut Health. The roots of such plants contain adventitious buds which grow into leafy shoots called slips. These slips detach themselves from the parent plant to form a new plant, a clone, which is genetically and morphologically identical to the parent plant. These plants are mostly cultivated in America, Asia, China (the largest producer of sweet potatoes), and New Zealand. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables and are different from normal potatoes in terms of density, tasty, and nutrition.
Tapioca is a processed starch product extracted from the cassava root, a perennial shrub that is found throughout South America. It is rich in carbohydrates which enhances calorie intake. Apart from this, it does not provide any other nutritional food value in terms of proteins, fat, vitamins, and minerals. It is also used as a dietary staple in various countries like Africa, Asia, and America. These plants contain swollen fleshy roots called root tubers. These tubers possess buds that grow into leafy shoots. These shoots then get detached from their parent plant and are capable of forming a new plant whose genotype and phenotype are similar to that of the parent plant.
Yam, an ancient food plant, is generally cultivated for their edible starchy tubers and belongs to the family Dioscoreaceae. These are mostly found in the regions of Africa, Asia, and America. The roots of these plants contain adventitious buds which grow into leafy shoots to form new plants. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, manganese, copper, antioxidants, vitamin A, and vitamin C; therefore, they are edible. One must avoid consuming yams raw as the proteins found in raw yams might be toxic in nature and can cause illness. Various health benefits of yams include boosting brain health, reducing inflammation, and improving blood sugar levels.
Dahlia, a dicot, is a genus of tuberous plants which belong to the Asteraceae family. Dahlia is widely used in landscaping, in floristry as a cut flower, in the pharmaceutical industry, in the cosmetics and food industry, and as raw material for the extraction of dyes. The tuberous roots as well as the flower of this plant are used for various therapeutic purposes. The roots of this plant are rich in inulin starch, which can further be converted into a sweetening substance, fructose, for diabetic patients.
Tinospora mainly consists of 34 species, and the most common species T.cordifolia and T.crispa are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia. The herbs of Tinospora are used in the treatment of colds, headaches, pharyngitis, fever, diarrhea, oral ulcer, digestive disorder, and rheumatoid arthritis. Tinospora cordifolia is widely employed by Indian Ayurveda for treating diabetes. The roots of such plants undergo vegetative propagation as they contain adventitious buds which develop leafy shoots to form a new plant.
The asparagus plant, scientifically known as Asparagus Officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant that belongs to the Asparagaceae family. It is one of the most nutritionally balanced vegetables. It is a great source of nutrients (fiber, folate), vitamins (vitamins A, C, and K), and anti-oxidants. It is edible and possesses numerous health benefits like weight loss, improved digestion, ease of hangovers, healthy pregnancy outcomes, inflammatory relief, and alleviating high blood pressure.
7. Dalbergia sissoo
Dalbergia sissoo is a deciduous rosewood tree that belongs to the Fabaceae family. It is mainly found in the foothills of the Himalayas ranging from Afghanistan in the west to Bihar, India, in the east. The intact roots of such woody plants develop adventitious buds, which put out shoots to form new plants. This plant possesses various therapeutic effects and is used to treat sore throats, dysentery, syphilis, bronchitis, inflammations, infections, hernia, skin diseases, and gonorrhea. It grows up to 8 feet in girth and 100 feet in height in wet areas, while in dry areas it grows only 10-15 meters in height.
Populus is a genus of trees that belongs to the family Salicaceae. This plant can be reproduced with the help of adventitious buds developed on the tap roots of this plant, which help them to form clones. The height of such plants ranges from 15-50 meters.
Guava, a tropical fruit, is mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. This kind of plant can thrive in any soil having good drainage, and full sun for the best flowering and fruit production. Roots of guava hold numerous health benefits like boosting immunity, anti-cancer effect, helping in weight loss, and being useful for heart health. These plants contain adventitious buds on their roots which help them develop new plants, called clones.
Tap roots of murraya plants develop shoots which helps to develop genetically and morphologically identical clones. Murraya is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Rutaceae family. The fruit of murraya is edible but its seeds are poisonous and must be removed before consumption. Murraya paniculata is one of the most common species of the Murraya genus. It has small white flowers which occasionally become black, berry-like fruits. Murraya paniculata usually prefers well-drained fertile soil and performs well when protected from strong winds.
11. Albizia lebbeck
Albizia lebbeck is a species of the Albizia genus, which belongs to the Mimosaceae family. This tree usually grows to a height of around 18–30 meters. Tap roots of such pants have buds which develop into shoots to produce new plants. Uses of Albizia lebbeck include environmental management, forage, medicine, and wood. The paste prepared from the leaves of such plants can be used to cure various skin diseases. It is noticeable with a rounded, spreading crown and a pale bark.