Central Virginia Organic Gardener

"And 'tis my faith that every flower enjoys the air it breathes." - William Wordsworth, 1798

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wednesday Lagniappe: Gardener's Glossary Goes Underground

Bearded Iris: grows from a rhizome.

What is the difference between these terms:  bulb, corm, rhizome and tuber?  We all use these terms, but what do they mean?  How do you tell the difference between them?

Bulb: an upright, underground stem with overlapping, fleshy sales (think onion, tulip).
Corm: Underground stem with no overlapping scales OR very few scales (think crocus, gladiolus)
Rhizome:  a scaly underground stem (think bearded iris or canna)
Tuber: modified underground stem produced at the tip of a rhizome (think white or sweet potato).

Happy gardening!

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