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Underground stems are modified plants that derive from
stem Stem or STEM may refer to: Biology * Plant stem '' has lost its leaves, but is producing adventitious roots from the nodes. A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant, the other being the root In vascular plants, the roo ...

stem
tissue but exist under the
soil Surface-water- gley developed in glacial till, Northern Ireland.">Northern_Ireland.html" ;"title="glacial till, Northern Ireland">glacial till, Northern Ireland. Soil is a mixture of organic matter, minerals, gases, liquids, and organisms tha ...

soil
surface. They function as storage tissues for food and nutrients, propagation of new clones, and perennation (survival from one growing season to the next). Types include
bulb In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

bulb
s,
corm A corm, bulbo-tuber, or bulbotuber is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem '' has lost its leaves, but is producing adventitious roots from the nodes. A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant, the other being ...

corm
s,
rhizome In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the A ...

rhizome
s,
stolon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
s, and
tuber Tubers are enlarged structures used as storage organs for nutrients in some plants. They are used for the plant's perennation (survival of the winter or dry months), to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season, and ...
s. Plants have two axes of growth, which can be best seen from
seed A seed is an embryonic ''Embryonic'' is the twelfth studio album by experimental rock band the Flaming Lips released on October 13, 2009, on Warner Bros. Records, Warner Bros. The band's first double album, it was released to generally positiv ...

seed
germination and growth. Seedlings develop two structures or axes of growth, one that develops upward out of the soil, called stems, and structures that develop downward which are called
root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τραχεῖα ἀρτηρία ''trācheia artēria'' 'windpipe' + φυτά ''phutá'' 'plants'), form a large group ...

root
s. The roots are modified to have
root hair Root hair, or absorbent hairs, are outgrowths of epidermal cells, specialized cells at the tip of a plant root In vascular plant Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from Greek τρα ...
s and branch indiscriminately with cells that take in water and nutrients, while the stems are modified to move water and nutrients to and from the leaves and flowers. Stems have nodes with
bud In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

bud
s where leaves and flowers arise at specific locations, while roots do not. Plants use under ground stems to multiply their numbers by
asexual reproduction Asexual reproduction is a type of that does not involve the fusion of s or change in the number of . The offspring that arise by asexual reproduction from either unicellular or s inherit the full set of genes of their single parent. Asexual rep ...
and to survive from one year to the next, usually over a period of dormancy. Some plants produce stems modified to store energy and preserve a location of potential growth to survive a cold or dry period which normally is a period of inactive growth, and when that period is over the plants resume new growth from the underground stems. Being underground protects the stems from the elements during the
dormancy Dormancy is a period in an organism's life cycle Life cycle, life-cycle, or lifecycle may refer to: Science and academia *Biological life cycle, the sequence of life stages that an organism undergoes from birth to reproduction ending with the pr ...
period, such as freezing and thawing in winter or extreme heat and drought in summer or fire. They can also protect plants from heavy
grazing In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentism, sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domestication, domesticated spec ...

grazing
pressure from animals, the plant might be eaten to the ground but new growth can occur from below ground stem that can not be reached by the
herbivore 250px, Tracks made by terrestrial gastropods with their radulas, scraping green algae from a surface inside a greenhouse">alga.html" ;"title="radulas, scraping green alga">radulas, scraping green algae from a surface inside a greenhouse A her ...
s. A number of plants, including ''weed''y species, use underground stems to spread and colonize large areas, since the stems do not have to be supported or strong, less energy and resources are needed to produce these stems and often these plants have more mass under ground than above ground.


Types of underground stems

Different forms of underground stems include: *
Bulb In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the An ...

Bulb
- Short, upright organ leaves modified into thick flesh scales. Tulips, daffodils and Lilies. *
Corm A corm, bulbo-tuber, or bulbotuber is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem '' has lost its leaves, but is producing adventitious roots from the nodes. A stem is one of two main structural axes of a vascular plant, the other being ...

Corm
- Short, upright, hard or fleshy stems covered with thin, dry papery leaves. *
Rhizome In botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the A ...

Rhizome
- With reduced scale like leaves. The top can generate leafy stems while the bottom can produce roots.
Iris
Iris
and many
grasses Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous family In human society A society is a Social group, group of individuals involved in persistent Social relation, social interaction, or a large social group sharing the ...
. *
Stolon In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms ...
- Horizontal stems that run at or just below the soil surface with nodes that root and long internodes, the ends produce new plants. When above ground they are called "runners". *
Tuber Tubers are enlarged structures used as storage organs for nutrients in some plants. They are used for the plant's perennation (survival of the winter or dry months), to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season, and ...
- An enlarged fleshy end of a stem, generally from rhizomes but often also referring to thickened roots too. A number of underground stems are consumed by people including;
onion The onion (''Allium cepa'' L., from Latin ''cepa'' "onion"), also known as the bulb onion or common onion, is a vegetable Vegetables are parts of plants that are consumed by humans or other animals as food. The original meaning is still com ...

onion
,
potato The potato is a starch Starch or amylum is a polymeric A polymer (; Greek '' poly-'', "many" + '' -mer'', "part") is a substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner of attr ...

potato
,
ginger Ginger (''Zingiber officinale'') is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anythi ...

ginger
, yam and
taro ''Colocasia esculenta'' is a tropical plant grown primarily for its edible corm A corm, bulbo-tuber, or bulbotuber is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem '' has lost its leaves, but is producing adventitious roots from the no ...

taro
. The below ground stems of grasses have scales, while roots are smooth without scales.


Geophyte

A geophyte (earth+plant) is a plant with an underground storage organ including true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots, enlarged hypocotyls, and rhizomes. Most plants with underground stems are geophytes but not all plants that are geophytes have underground stems. Geophytes are often physiologically active even when they lack leaves. They are able to survive during adverse environmental conditions by going into a state of quiesce and later resume growth from their storage organs, which contain reserves of carbohydrates and water, when the environmental conditions are favorable again.


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Underground Stem
Plant morphology ''Plant morphology'' is the field in botany that studies the diversity in forms, with the naked eye or slight optical magnification. This is opposed to plant anatomy (see :Plant anatomy) that needs to cut into plants to be able to study its subject, ...