The Great Plant Escape
Mysterious Parts That Surprise!

Facts of the Case

All About Bulbs

A bulb is a promise of a plant to come. These "packaged plants" each have a complete miniature plant inside along with its food.

The word bulb describes plants that grow from an underground mass of food storage tissue. True bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, contain a complete miniature plant surrounded by fleshy scales attached to a basal plate from which plants grow.The scales are mostly carbohydrates and nourish the young plant. True bulbs can be either tunicate, with a papery covering such as onion or tulip, or non-tunicate, with no paper covering such as over the fleshy scale like leaves of a lily.

If a bulb is sliced in half horizontally, you will see rings formed by the scale leaves. These scale leaves store food for use by the bulb as it grows. If you slice a bulb vertically, you should be able to find leaves, stems, and even flower buds. You can use an onion or use some of the paperwhite narcissus bulbs that will be used in the planting activity.

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