Polarity is the orientation inherent in a stem or root cutting. The distal end is nearest to the stem or root tip, while the proximal end is closest to the root-shoot junction.

Auxin moves in a polar manner from the distal to proximal ends of cuttings. Maintaining polarity is important to decide which end of cuttings to stick into the medium.

Photo of a seedling which identified the root/shoot junction spliting the plant in half with the top half being the stem with leaves forming, while the bottom half forms the roots. The tips of the leaves and the roots are both identified as distal, while where they join together is identified as proximal.

This root cutting of horseradish illustrates how shoots will form on the proximal portion of the root.

This will occur regardless of the orientation of the cutting in the substrate.

Photograph showing a sideways cutting of horseradish, with the distal end on the left and the proximal on the right. The proximal end has roots beginning to form on it.