This research investigates the flow behavior and its features in the blade's root region of a horizontal axis wind turbine by using stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) technique. Wind tunnel tests are conducted to measure the velocity field, phase-locked with the blade motion, at different azimuth angles and at different spanwise positions. The pressure distribution is obtained from PIV velocity field by solving the Navier–Stokes momentum equations. In this paper, we aim to answer two questions: (i) How is the flow behavior in the root region? (ii) How is the evolution of the root vortex? The analysis of the velocity fields shows an outboard radial flow motion in the root region and a vorticity driven inboard motion at the bladeŠs maximum chord position. As a result of this vorticity driven flow, an increase in the axial velocity close to nacelle is measured. Wake sheets are observed and further discussed in the measured velocity and vorticity distributions. The formation and evolution of the root vortices conveyed downstream by the axial velocity are analyzed through vorticity and pressure distributions. Although the azimuthal vorticity in 3D representation is showing the trailing vorticity, the tilting of the root vortex tube is observed in the axial vorticity distribution. Moreover, the radial vorticity and azimuthal velocity from chordwise measurements show separation on the suction surface of the blade. This research concluded that the flow in the blade wake is driven by the root vortex; hence, the local effects of the root vortex cannot be ignored. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.