ANOTHER TYPES OF STEMS
There are some special types of stems. The most important are:
Rhizomes are stems that grow horizontally under the surface of the ground. From them roots are born, moving downwards into the ground and other herbaceous stems follow the opposite way searching the air. So, apart from storing food, they are a way of plant propagation. Canes would be a good example of them.
Bulbs are in fact buds adapted to leave under the ground, that store food provisions. Onions are bulbs.
They become very fat because of water accumulation. They use it as a reservoir for the long dry periods they have to stand. They are so well adapted to the environment that they have transformed their leaves into prickles, which besides increasing water provision, help the plant to keep herbivores out of range. Cacti are included in this group.
They do not grow below the ground but on the surface or very near to it. The most important are
These are weak spreading stems, running along the surface of the ground and producing new plants from their nodes. Strawberries belong to this group.
Stems that grow on the ground surface till they find something to get upright. They are slender, with long internodes. They can achieve their goal by means of:
|Clambering stems: with elastic stems that wind around other plants or structures, like beans, for example.||
|Climbing roots: stems provided with aerial roots to hold the plant to different surfaces, so they can climb. Ivy, for example.||
|Spines or prickles: aiming at a double purpose: to support the plant and to defend it against animals. Blackberry is an example.||
|Tendrils (1): They are secondary stems evolved to twist around an object. Vines, for example.||
Photo of ivy climbing up a tree trunk.
More information on climbing plants
|The leaf-like cladodes (Phylloclades) and cladodes are leaflike stems. They appear because the real leaves are very small, therefore non functional. Two clear examples are the butcher’s broom and the prickly pear.||
|1) leaf-like cladodes.
2) real minute leaves.
4) leaves developed to prickles.
Questios of stems
Select the correct answer for each question:
This cactus shows:
A herbaceous stem
The plant of the picture has:
A ligneous stem
A leaf-like cladode
You think this plant is:
A herbaceous plant
This plant shows:
Flexible climbing stems
Climbing prickly stems
More information about plants cultivation.