DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Part of the rhizome of a plant of dotted loosestrife, Lysimachia punctata. The rhizome is horizontal across the picture, below centre, and about 1cm in diameter. Rhizomes are underground stems by which some plants spread vegetatively. The rhizome grows horizontally just beneath the soil surface, and has buds and roots along its length. At intervals, the buds develop into vertical shoots that emerge from the soil. In this picture there six visible buds (white or pink, on the upper side of the rhizome) two of which have grown into leafy shoots. Rhizomatous plants such as dotted loosestrife typically form expanding clumps that may become extensive. In their natural habitat, this self-propagation method allows rapid colonisation of suitable areas. Grown in a garden border, this weedy behaviour can result in the infestation of neighbouring plants.
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