DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
A corm of a garden gladiolus, with developing cormels, seen from below. The picture shows a corm that has been removed from the soil in Autumn after flowering. Part of the corm is visible, to lower right. Growing from its base is a mass of small cormels (white, or covered with a brown outer coat). These are attached to the parent by a thick white stolon (to left and to right).To the bottom edge of the picture, centre, are the roots 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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