DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A corm of a garden gladiolus, with developing cormels. The picture shows a corm that has been removed from the soil in Autumn, after flowering. The corm has a red/purple hue, and a fibrous covering of modified leaves (brown).Many small cormels are visible, some showing the thick stolon (white ) that attaches them to the base of the parent corm. As the cormlets, initially pale pink, dry in the air, they develop a fibrous outer layer (brown shades).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 for gardeners 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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