Drainage Patterns Dendritic, Trellis, Rectangular, Radial


Dendritic pattern

The dendritic pattern develops where the river channel follows the slope of the terrain.

The stream with its tributaries resembles the branches of a tree, thus the name dendritic.

Most of the rivers of Indo-Gangetic Plains are of the dendritic type.


Trellis pattern

A river joined by its tributaries, at approximately right angles, develops a trellis pattern.

A trellis drainage pattern develops where hard and soft rocks exist parallel to each other.

The old folded mountains of the Singhbhum have drainage of trellis pattern.


Rectangular pattern

A rectangular drainage pattern develops on a strongly jointed rocky terrain.

It is marked by right-angled junctions between tributaries and their mainstream.

It is different from the Trellis pattern. Its tributary streams are neither as long, nor parallel as in Trellis drainage.

This type of drainage pattern is found in the Vindhyayan Mountains.


Radial pattern

The radial pattern develops when streams flow in different directions from a central peak or dome like structure.

It develops on the flanks of a dome or a volcanic cone.

Rivers like Narmada, Mahanadi and Son originating from Amarkantak Hills flow in different directions are good examples of the radial pattern.

Radial drainage pattern also found in the Girnar Hills (Gujarat) and  Mikir Hills (Assam).

The centripetal drainage system is similar to the radial drainage system. Radial drainage flows out, centripetal drainage flows in.


A combination of several patterns may be found in the same drainage basin.