Root biology is an actively developing field that includes ecological, morphological, anatomical, developmental, and evolutionary aspects. I focus this opinion paper entirely on the inconsistencies in the usage of various terms in root biology. When terminology is used inconsistently, this may create a confusion in understanding, and the goal of this article is to identify the most common errors and suggest how to avoid them.
The proposed suggestions are as follows: (1) When definitions are not established or ambiguous, it is recommended to describe what is meant (“basal root” term is discussed); (2) Avoid using ambiguous terms (it is recommended not to use the term “secondary root”); (3) When known, give preference to organogenesis-related terminology (the terms “primary root”, “tap root”, and “main root” are compared); (4) Avoid using terms established for one identity to describe a different identity (inappropriate term selection is discussed, and it is recommended not to use the term “basal meristem” in the context of the root apex longitudinal zonation).
Overall, I discuss how to avoid inconsistencies in terminology and achieve better communication among root biologists.