Rootlines were the name given to family units within the M'shinn species society. Due to the fact that M'shinni were all female and reproduced by parthenogenesis, individuals within Rootlines all looked almost identical, and only differed due to slight genetic changes between generations. There were distinct differences,, however between different Rootlines, despite all of them being direct descendants of the Firstmother—the individuals who first formed a symbiotic relationship with the species of plant that grew on all M'shinn. Each Rootline ran an individual company and the different families competed with one another, although rarely through physical conflict.