Corm – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Botanical Terms Glossary

What is a corm?

A corm is a modified underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ for nutrients. It is similar to a bulb or tuber in function but differs in structure. Corms are typically round or oval in shape and are covered with a papery tunic that protects the inner tissues. They are found in a variety of plant species, including flowering plants, grasses, and ferns.

How do corms differ from bulbs and tubers?

While corms, bulbs, and tubers all serve as storage organs for plants, they differ in their structure and composition. Corms are solid structures that consist of stem tissue and are surrounded by a tunic, which is a protective covering. Bulbs, on the other hand, are made up of layers of fleshy leaves surrounding a central bud or growing point. Tubers are swollen underground stems that store nutrients and have eyes or buds from which new shoots can grow.

What are the characteristics of corms?

Corms have several distinct characteristics that set them apart from other types of storage organs. They are typically round or oval in shape and have a hard outer covering called a tunic. The inner tissues of a corm are made up of stem tissue, which stores nutrients for the plant to use during periods of dormancy or stress. Corms also have a basal plate from which roots grow and a growing point from which new shoots emerge.

How do corms reproduce?

Corms reproduce asexually through the formation of new corms or cormels. As the parent corm grows and matures, it produces small cormels at its base, which can be separated and planted to grow into new plants. Corms can also reproduce sexually through the production of seeds, which are dispersed by wind, water, or animals. When conditions are favorable, seeds germinate and grow into new plants that may develop corms of their own.

What are some examples of plants that grow from corms?

There are many plant species that grow from corms, including some popular garden flowers and food crops. Examples of plants that produce corms include crocuses, gladioli, and cyclamen, which are prized for their colorful flowers. Other plants that grow from corms include taro, an edible root vegetable, and water chestnuts, which are used in Asian cuisine. Corms are also found in some ornamental grasses and ferns, such as the sword fern.

How are corms used in gardening and landscaping?

Corms are commonly used in gardening and landscaping for their ornamental value and ease of cultivation. They are planted in the ground or in containers to provide color and texture to flower beds, borders, and containers. Corms can be planted in the fall for spring bloom or in the spring for summer or fall bloom, depending on the plant species. They are low maintenance and require little care once established, making them a popular choice for beginner gardeners. Corms can also be stored over winter and replanted in the spring for continuous blooms year after year.