On the fractal dimensions of a root system

A. Eshel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Several attempts have been made to apply the principles of fractal geometry to the description of root systems. However, fractal analysis of a real plant root system that maintains its original three-dimensional structure has not been performed to date. An intact root system of a dwarf tomato plant was embedded in gelatin and cut into 3 mm slices. Image analysis was used to collect the data required for determination of three-dimensional and planar fractal dimensions. It was found that the root system has characteristics of a fractal object. The variation of the planar fractal dimension of horizontal and vertical planes intersecting the root system was shown, and their maxima were found to correspond with maximal root proliferation. These results open the way for further application of fractal analysis in root research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)247-251
Number of pages5
JournalPlant, Cell and Environment
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998


  • Dwarf tomato
  • Lycopersicum esculentum
  • Root architecture
  • Root system complexity


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