DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A corm of a garden gladiolus, with developing cormels, seen from beneath. The picture shows a corm that has been removed from the soil in Autumn after flowering. In the centre (brown) is the shrivelled corm that was planted in the previous Spring. The current year's corm behind it is white with adhering patches of a fibrous outer covering; the stem (green) is in the background. Many small cormels (white) are visible, some showing the thick stolon that attaches them to the base of the parent corm. Gladioli exemplify plants known as geophytes, that produce underground storage organs. The corm (and each cormel) is a solid tissue capable of growing into an entire new plant. Cormels are an easy way to propagate gladioli; they produce a flowering size plant within 2-3 years. In nature, cormels provide a survival strategy should the main corm suffer predation from ground living herbivores.
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