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 is partially covered with fibrous (brown) modified leaves. Below centre, many small white cormels are visible, some showing the thick stolon (white ) that attaches them to the base of the parent corm. To the bottom of the picture are the roots of the plant, and the remains of the corm that was planted in the previous Spring. Gladioli exemplify plants known as geophytes, that produce underground storage organs. The corm (and each cormel) is a solid tissue capable of growing into a 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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