Bulb, corm, rhizome, or tuber? What’s the difference?

I’m sure you’ve heard all these terms before, but the differences between them can be a bit confusing. So I’m going to talk about which is which, and what the differences are. Bulbs: A bulb is formed from the plant stem and leaves. The bottom of it is made up of a small disk called the basal plate, which is basically a compressed stem. And these roots grow from the bottom of the basal plate. Then you have layers of leaves that kind of resemble scales, which are filled with food and nutrients. This all sits on the basal plate and surrounds a single bud that will eventually become next year’s flower. Examples: daffodil, lily, tulip. Corms: Similar to a bulb, in that it also comes from the stem of the plant, but corm’s are actually a solid tissue that doesn’t have any separate scale-like leaves. Instead, a dry, papery outer layer protects the inside. After the stem sprouts from the top of the corm, little buds pop up from the stem. And these buds turn into flowers. Examples: crocus and gladiolus. Rhizomes: A rhizome is a swollen length of underground stem that grows horizontally and forms roots on its underside while leaves and new stems sprout from the top. And buds form at intervals along the structure of each stem. Some of the most persistent plants come from rhizomes, such as ginger, bamboo, and some fern varieties. Tubers: Lastly, there are tubers. The most well-known example of a tuber is a potato. A tuber is a storage organ formed from a stem or root. This organ develops eyes (or buds) all over its surface. Shoots grow upward from the buds and form plants. Other examples include cyclamen, dahlia, and tuberous begonia. So there you have it. We’ve covered all the major differences between bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers.