GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Section through a sprouting hyacinth bulb (Hyacinthus orientalis). A bulb is a fleshy, highly modified underground shoot which allows the plant to survive the winter. The central apical bud within the bulb contains the immature foliage leaves, the future flower and adventitious roots at its base. Hyacinth bulbs contain fully formed flowers with pollen almost ready for dispersal. The apical bud is surrounded by numerous fleshy scales containing food reserves for rapid sprouting in the spring. When the plant is well established, products of photosynthesis in the foliage leaves are passed down to the base of the plant to form a new bulb.
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