The stem shows different modifications like root to perform
some special functions like synthesizing the food materials, conducting water
and mineral salts to the leaves, poliage to sunlight for photosynthesis etc., Depending
on their nature they are of 3 types
Ø Underground stem modification
Generally stems are present above the soil
(aerial) but in some plants they grow below the soil which are called as underground or subterranean or geophyllous
stems or stem modifications. They will store food
materials and the well protected from herbivorous animals, by performing these functions they are also known as multipurpose stem modifications.
These stems contains nodes, internodes, scale
leaves axillary and terminal buds. Based on their growth and the storage of
food materials they are of 4 types as follows:
is the thickest underground stem which grows horizontally below the soil
consisting of nodes and internodes.
is brown in colour and dorsiventral producing aerial branches and reproductive
organs on the dorsal side and adventitious roots on the ventral side.
nodes consists of scale leaves and branches arises from axillary buds (to store
the food materials and maintains the horizontal growth) and the aerial branches
of rhizome are called as scapes.
vertical rhizome of this is known as root stock.
Examples: Ginger, Turmeric
stem which grows vertically in the soil at a particular depth consisting of
nodes and internodes.
food materials are synthesized in aerial branches and stored by the stem. Hence
it becomes tuberous.
are reduced to scale leaves and the axillary buds produced daughter corms and
it consists of some special roots are called as pull roots or contractile
this, branches develops from the lower part of the stem and grows into the
soil, the apices of these branches stores food materials hence they will become
tuberous which are known as stem tubers and can grow at any depth.
is covered by a brown coloured layer periderm which bears many eyelike
structures represents the nodes.
eye possesses a semi-lunar leaf scar which represents the position of scale
leaf and also helps in vegetative propagation.
vegetative propagation through eyes is called sprouting.
Example: Potato, Helianthus
is a special type of underground stem which is reduce to biconvex dislike
structure with number of adventitious roots on its lower side and does not
stores the food.
leaves develop on the upper side of the disk and grow above the soil.
leaf bases stores the food and water hence they will be fleshy.
axillary buds produce daughter bulb and terminal bud is at the centre and
develops aerial shoots producing inflorescence.
Depending on arrangement of scale leaves they are of two
types as follows:
o Tunicated bulb: In this the leaf bases
of scale leaves overlap one above the other in a concentric circles and the
entire bulb is covered by dry, membranous scale leaves called as tunica.
o Scaly bulb or naked bulb or imbricate bulb:
The scale leaves are fleshy which are loosely arranged are called as cloves. It
the leaf is covered by tunica and the bulb is not covered with that, called as
naked bulb. It the scale leaves are arranged in a group with shinning tunica,
called as imbricate bulb. If the stem and leaf bases stores the food materials
they appear in the form of solid bulbs.
Tuberose, cloves ,Lilium
Ø Sub-aerial stem modifications:
The stem which grows partly aerial and partly
below the soil are called as sub-aerial stems which are specialized for vegetative propagation. They are of four types as follows
this, the stem creeps on the soil and the rooted at every node.
the internodes break of nodes leads an independent life, such stems are known
as runners which help in vegetative propagation.
Examples: Hydrocotyle, Oxalis
or walking stems
this the slender branches arises from the base of the stem which grows
these branches touch the soil they produce adventitious roots, called as
stolons. It separated from the mother plant they leads an independent life.
Examples: Jasmine, Nerium
this underground branches grows obliquely upwards from the axillary buds of
nodes present below the soil.
branches produce adventitious roots on the ventral surface, called as suckers.
If separated they leads an independent life.
is reduced to a disc like structure and the leaves from this grows in rosette
axillary buds of these leave develop into short and the slender branches of one
Internodal length and grows horizontally above the water, called as offsets.
apex of each set bears number of leaves on the upper side and the adventitious
roots on its lower, if it breaks they leads an independent life.
Ø Aerial stem modifications
The stem which grows aerially consisting of
vegetative parts a floral parts of plants growing in different environmental
conditions and undergo modifications to perform various function are called as
aerial stem modifications. They are of 6
types are as follows
Some weak stemmed plants produce wiry, coiled
and sensitive structures for the purpose of climbing, called as tendrils. They
coil around the support and helps in climbing formed from the axillary or
Examples: Passiflora, Vitis vinifera
are hard, woody pointed structures which meant for protection develops either
from axillary bud or terminal bud.
These are woody, curved sensitive structure developed either
from axillary or terminal bud.
Examples: Hugonia, Artobotrys
these plants leaves are modified into scale leaves or spines and man stem
branches modifies into green leaf like structures to perform photosynthesis
known as phylloclades or cladophylls.
which contains only one internode known as cladode.
Examples: Asparagus, Opuntia, casuarina
The aerial stem of the plants stores food
materials and become tuberous known as tuberous stem.
Examples: Brassica, Bulbophyllum
`The plants consisting of vegetative and
floral parts modified into condensed branches which stores food materials,
these modified buds are known as bulbils.
Examples: Diascorea, Oxalis