GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GEORGE BERNARD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Two shoots from a 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 rudimentary adventitious roots at its base. It 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. Sometimes an axillary bud will form an additional bulb, and two shoots grow the following year (as seen here).
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