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Throughout the years, the term “bulb” has come to describe any type of root form that is planted in the ground to produce a plant. However, only a few of these plants are truly “bulbs.” There are four different types: rhizomes, corms, tubers and bulbs. We’ll get the bottom of this misunderstanding and explain exactly what the true difference is between these four terms.
Corms are characterized by a dry, flaky outer layer that protects its inner structure. After stems sprout from the corm, buds form on top of the stem. At the end of the growing season, a new corm typically grows on the base of the spent one. Examples of corms are Gladiolus and Crocus.
Rhizomes grow horizontally and form roots from its bottom while shooting out leaves on the top. Buds form at different parts along the structure, not necessarily at the top. Examples of rhizomes are Canna Lilies and Calla Lilies.
A bulb is comprised of a plant’s stem and leaves. The bottom of the bulb is a compacted stem and roots grow from this part of the bulb. Layers of nutrient-filled leaves sit at the bottom of the bulb and surround a bud that eventually becomes the flower. Examples of bulbs are Tulips, Lilies and Daffodils.
Whether it be a tuber, corm, rhizome or bulb, all of these plant structures are sure to produce an easy, spectacular show in the spring and summer months. Happy Gardening!