THE BOOK OF BULBS

 

BY

S. ARNOTT, F.R.H.S.

 

TOGETHER WITH AN INTRODUCTORY
CHAPTER ON THE BOTANY
OF BULBS BY THE EDITOR

 

JOHN LANE: THE BODLEY HEAD
LONDON AND NEW YORK.  MCMI

We commonly speak of the bulbs of crocuses as of tulips or of onions, but morphologically there is a distinction, although functionally there is little or none. If we examine a tulip bulb, we find that it is mainly composed of thick succulent scales which closely overlap one another, in the centre being a flattish axis continuous with the roots below, and with the leaf and flower-bearing stalk above. This axis is part of the tulip's stem, the fleshy scales being morphologically but modified leaves whose basal portions have become swollen with stores of nutriment. After the tulip has flowered, it sets to work to manufacture fresh supplies of food material which is sent down the stem and there accumulated in a new bulb, formed by the development of a bud contained among the scales of the old and now withered bulb of the previous year. These stores will, in the following season, enable the tulip to cut a pretty figure before it or other plant has had time or opportunity for preparing fresh supplies by the aid of the spring-time sun alone.

The so-called bulb of the crocus has a somewhat different structure. The crocus "bulb" does not, like that of the tulip, consist of overlapping scales, but of a more or less homogeneous mass enclosed in a stiff membrane, within which may sometimes be seen two or three.....................................

 

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