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Bulb facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
For the electrical device that produces light, see Lightbulb.
Shallots - sliced and whole
Shallots--a type of bulb that people use for food.

A bulb is the part of some plants, mostly under the dirt, that stores food while the plant is resting from growing (a storage organ).

Some well-known bulbs people grow to use as food are onions and garlic. Some bulbs grown for the decorative flowers are the lily, tulip, and some irises.

Some plant storage organs that are similar to bulbs, but have different names are, tubers, corms (swollen stems), tuberous roots, and pseudobulbs.

Description

Red onion cut labelled
Longitudinal section through bulb
Red onion cross section 04
Cross section of onion bulb

The bulb's leaf bases, also known as scales, generally do not support leaves, but contain food reserves to enable the plant to survive adverse conditions.

At the center of the bulb is a vegetative growing point or an unexpanded flowering shoot. The base is formed by a reduced stem, and plant growth occurs from this basal plate.

Roots emerge from the underside of the base, and new stems and leaves from the upper side.

Bulbous plant species cycle through vegetative and reproductive growth stages; the bulb grows to flowering size during the vegetative stage and the plant flowers during the reproductive stage.

Certain environmental conditions are needed to trigger the transition from one stage to the next, such as the shift from a cold winter to spring.

Once the flowering period is over, the plant enters a foliage period of about six weeks during which time the plant absorbs nutrients from the soil and energy from the sun for setting flowers for the next year.

Bulbs dug up before the foliage period is completed will not bloom the following year but then should flower normally in subsequent years.

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Bulb Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.