about Root Systems
The nature of the underground parts of wildflowers varies greatly and may influence the types of habitats where they can be grown. The type of root system also affects how easily a plant can be propagated.
True RootsThese roots may be either widely spread out and fibrous or they may be strongly vertical with a carrot type taproot. Some species of wildflowers have an intermixing of both basic types of root systems occurring.
Typical PlantsCardinal Flower, Purple Coneflower, Yellow Coneflower, Compass Plant, New England Aster, Prairie Phlox, Praire Dock, Large Flowered Beardtongue.
Bulbs and CormsA round and bulbous rootstock formed from a swollen, solid basestem is called a "corm." Corms may look similar to bulbs, but true "bulbs" are formed by fleshy leaves that surround a bud on top of a short stem.
Typical PlantsCorms - Jack-in-the-pulpit, Blazingstar
Bulbs - Nodding Onion
RhizomesHorizontal underground stems, typically thick and fleshy, having buds on their top surface and roots on the bottom surface. Accumulations of rich stores of starch are used by the shoots and flowers as the perennials emerge from dormancy.
Typical PlantsWestern Sunflower, Canada Anemone, Prairie Smoke, Wild Geranium, Bergotmot.
Runners and StolonsOne of the simplest root systems, it has thick horizontal branches, from which rise new plants. Branches above ground are usually called "runners" and are referred to as "stolons" if below the ground.
TubersWhen the tip of a stolon produces a swollen storage organ it's called a "tuber." The leaf buds of tubers are often called "eyes."
Typical PlantsButterfly Plant
("Typical Plants" are examples of some species that can be found with these root types.)
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