Tuber

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Tubers are various types of modified plant structures that are enlarged to store nutrients. They are used by plants to survive the winter or dry months and provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing season and they are a means of asexual reproduction.[1] There are both stem and root tubers.

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Stem tubers

A stem tuber forms from thickened rhizomes or stolons. The tops or sides of the tuber produce shoots that grow into typical stems and leaves and the under sides produce roots. They tend to form at the sides of the parent plant and are most often located near the soil surface. The below-ground stem tuber is normally a short-lived storage and regenerative organ developing from a shoot that branches off a mature plant. The offspring or new tubers, are attached to a parent tuber or form at the end of a hypogeogenous rhizome. In the fall the plant dies except for the new offspring stem tubers which have one dominant bud, which in spring regrows a new shoot producing stems and leaves, in summer the tubers decay and new tubers begin to grow. Some plants also form smaller tubers and/or tubercules which act like seeds, producing small plants that resemble (in morphology and size) seedlings. Some stem tubers are long lived such as those of tuberous begonia but many tuberous plants have tubers that survive only until the plants have fully leafed out, at which point the tuber is reduced to a shriveled up husk.

Stem tubers generally start off as enlargements of the hypocotyl section of a seedling but also sometimes include the first node or two of the epicotyl and the upper section of the root. The stem tuber has a vertical orientation with one or a few vegetative buds on the top and fibrous roots produced on the bottom from a basal section, typically the stem tuber has an oblong rounded shape.

Tuberous begonia and Cyclamen are commonly grown stem tubers. Mignonette vine (Anredera cordifolia) produces aerial stem tubers on 12-to-25-foot-tall (3.7 to 7.6 m) vines, the tubers fall to the ground and grow. Plectranthus esculentus of the mint family Lamiaceae, produces tuberous under ground organs from the base of the stem, weighing up to 1.8 kg per tuber, forming from axillary buds producing short stolons that grow into tubers.[2]

Potatoes

Potatoes are stem tubers, which are the development of enlarged stolons thickened into a storage organ.[3] [4][5]

The tuber has all the parts of a normal stem, including nodes and internodes, the nodes are the eyes and each has a leaf scar. The nodes or eyes are arranged around the tuber in a spiral fashion beginning on the end opposite the attachment point to the stolon. The terminal bud is produced at the farthest point away from the stolon attachment and tuber thus shows the same apical dominance of a normal stem. Internally a tuber is filled with starch stored in enlarged parenchyma like cells; also internally the tuber has the typical cell structures of any stem, including a pith, vascular zones and a cortex.

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