The stem is short and somewhat disc-like structure and does not contain any food stuff. Stem is covered by many thickened, overlapping leaves or leaf bases (generally termed as scales). The entire structure takes the form of a bulb. The short and reduced stem bears numerous adventitious roots at its base:

(i) Tunicated bulbs:

In this situation, the fleshy scales totally surround the reduced stem forming the concentric layers around stem forming the concentric layers around each other. On the exterior they are covered by a few dry scales forming a membranous covering, termed as the tunic. The fleshy scales are bases of the foliage leaves, example: Onion, and so on.

(ii) Scaly bulbs:

In this, the leaves are small and scale-like structure and only overlap at the margins. There is also no outer tunic. The scaly bulbs are found in garlic, lilies, and so on.


Figure: Bulb

In both the types, axillary buds often develop in the axil of the fleshy scales. These build up into new bulbs or on separation from the parent bulb develop into new plants. They serve both for vegetative propagation and food storage.

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