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Title: Rhizome  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Eriophorum angustifolium, Peppermint, Leucanthemum vulgare, Orchidaceae, Fern
Collection: Plant Anatomy, Plant Physiology, Plant Reproduction
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Lotus rhizome
An antique spurge plant; Euphorbia antiquorum, sending out rhizomes
Turmeric rhizome and spice
Stolons growing from nodes in corm of Crocosmia.

In botany and dendrology, a rhizome (, from Ancient Greek: rhízōma "mass of roots",[1] from rhizóō "cause to strike root")[2] is a modified subterranean stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks and rootstocks. Rhizomes develop from axillary buds and are diageotropic or grow perpendicular to the force of gravity. The rhizome also retains the ability to allow new shoots to grow upwards.[3]

If a rhizome is separated into pieces, each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant. The plant uses the rhizome to store starches, proteins, and other nutrients. These nutrients become useful for the plant when new shoots must be formed or when the plant dies back for the winter.[3] This is a process known as vegetative reproduction and is used by farmers and gardeners to propagate certain plants. This also allows for lateral spread of grasses like bamboo and bunch grasses. Examples of plants that are propagated this way include hops, asparagus, ginger, irises, Lily of the Valley, Cannas, and sympodial orchids. Some rhizomes which are used directly in cooking include ginger, turmeric, galangal, and fingerroot.

Stored rhizomes are subject to bacterial and fungal infections making them unsuitable for replanting and greatly diminishing stocks. However rhizomes can also be produced artificially from tissue cultures. The ability to easily grow rhizomes from tissue cultures leads to better stocks for replanting and greater yields.[4] The plant hormones ethylene and jasmonic acid have been found to help induce and regulate the growth of rhizomes, specifically in Rheum rabarbarum (rhubarb). Ethylene that was applied externally was found to affect internal ethylene levels, allowing for easy manipulations of ethylene concentrations.[5] Knowledge of how to use these hormones to induce rhizome growth could help farmers and biologists producing plants grown from rhizomes more easily cultivate and grow better plants.

The poplars (species of Populus) are an example of trees that propagate using a rhizome. The Pando colony in Utah is a famous example, which has been living for about 80,000 years. The rhizome of a poplar colony is the key to its longevity: foragers, insects, fungus, and forest fires may destroy the above-ground portion of the tree, but the underground rhizome is somewhat protected against these threats.


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External links

  1. ^ ῥίζωμα. Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  2. ^ ῥιζόω
  3. ^ a b Jang, Cheol Seong; et al. (2006). "Functional classification, genomic organization, putatively cis-acting regulatory elements, and relationship to quantitative trait loci, of sorghum genes with rhizome-enriched expression.". Plant Physiology 142 (3): 1148–1159.  
  4. ^ Nayak, Sanghamitra; Pradeep Kumar Naik (2006). "Factors effecting in vitro microrhizome formation and growth in Curcuma longa L. and improved field performance of micropropagated plants". Science Asia 32: 31–37. 
  5. ^ Rayirath, Usha P; et al. (2011). "Role of ethylene and jasmonic acid on rhizome induction and growth in rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum L.)". Plant Cell Tissue Organ Culture 105: 253–263.  
  6. ^ Stern, Kingsley R. Introductory Plant Biology, 10th ed., McGraw Hill, 2002. ISBN 0-07-290941-2
  7. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008) "Western poison-oak: Toxicodendron diversilobum", GlobalTwitcher, ed. Nicklas Stromberg
  8. ^ Husby, C. (2003) "Ecology and Physiology of the Giant Horsetails", Florida International University


See also

Many rhizomes have culinary value, and some, such as zhe'ergen, are commonly consumed raw.

Some plants have rhizomes that grow above ground or that lie at the soil surface, including some Iris species, and ferns, whose spreading stems are rhizomes. Plants with underground rhizomes include gingers, bamboo, the Venus Flytrap, Chinese lantern, Western poison-oak,[7] hops, and Alstroemeria, and the weeds Johnson grass, bermuda grass, and purple nut sedge. Rhizomes generally form a single layer, but in Giant Horsetails, can be multi-tiered.[8]

, which is a modified stolon. The term tuber is often used imprecisely, and is sometimes applied to plants with rhizomes. potato, for example, the common starch In general, a tuber is high in [6]

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