In botany and dendrology, a rhizome (/ˈraɪzoʊm/, from Ancient Greek: rhízōma "mass of roots",[1] from rhizóō "cause to strike root")[2] is a modified subterranean plant stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Rhizomes are also called creeping rootstalks or just rootstalks. Rhizomes develop from axillary buds and grow horizontally. The rhizome also retains the ability to allow new shoots to grow upwards.[3]

A rhizome is the main stem of the plant. A stolon is similar to a rhizome, but a stolon sprouts from an existing stem, has long internodes, and generates new shoots at the end, such as in the strawberry plant. In general, rhizomes have short internodes, send out roots from the bottom of the nodes, and generate new upward-growing shoots from the top of the nodes.

A stem tuber is a thickened part of a rhizome or stolon that has been enlarged for use as a storage organ.[4] In general, a tuber is high in starch, e.g. the potato, which is a modified stolon. The term "tuber" is often used imprecisely and is sometimes applied to plants with rhizomes.

If a rhizome is separated each piece may be able to give rise to a new plant. The plant uses the rhizome to store starches, proteins, and other nutrients. These nutrients become useful for the plant when new shoots must be formed or when the plant dies back for the winter.[3] This is a process known as vegetative reproduction and is used by farmers and gardeners to propagate certain plants. This also allows for lateral spread of grasses like bamboo and bunch grasses. Examples of plants that are propagated this way include hops, asparagus, ginger, irises, lily of the valley, cannas, and sympodial orchids.

Some rhizomes that are used directly in cooking include ginger, turmeric, galangal, fingerroot, and lotus.

Stored rhizomes are subject to bacterial and fungal infections, making them unsuitable for replanting and greatly diminishing stocks. However, rhizomes can also be produced artificially from tissue cultures. The ability to easily grow rhizomes from tissue cultures leads to better stocks for replanting and greater yields.[5] The plant hormones ethylene and jasmonic acid have been found to help induce and regulate the growth of rhizomes, specifically in rhubarb. Ethylene that was applied externally was found to affect internal ethylene levels, allowing easy manipulations of ethylene concentrations.[6] Knowledge of how to use these hormones to induce rhizome growth could help farmers and biologists producing plants grown from rhizomes more easily cultivate and grow better plants.

Some plants have rhizomes that grow above ground or that lie at the soil surface, including some Iris species, and ferns, whose spreading stems are rhizomes. Plants with underground rhizomes include gingers, bamboo, the Venus flytrap, Chinese lantern, western poison-oak,[7] hops, and Alstroemeria, and the weeds Johnson grass, Bermuda grass, and purple nut sedge. Rhizomes generally form a single layer, but in giant horsetails, can be multi-tiered.[8]

Many rhizomes have culinary value, and some, such as zhe'ergen, are commonly consumed raw.[9]

Euphorbia rhizophora2 ies
An antique spurge plant, Euphorbia antiquorum, sending out rhizomes
Lotus root
Lotus rhizome sliced and peeled
Curcuma longa roots
Turmeric rhizome, whole and ground into a spice
Corm stolons5680
Stolons growing from nodes from a corm of Crocosmia

See also


  1. ^ ῥίζωμα. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  2. ^ ῥιζόω
  3. ^ a b Jang, Cheol Seong; et al. (2006). "Functional classification, genomic organization, putatively cis-acting regulatory elements, and relationship to quantitative trait loci, of sorghum genes with rhizome-enriched expression". Plant Physiology. 142 (3): 1148–1159. doi:10.1104/pp.106.082891. PMC 1630734. PMID 16998090.
  4. ^ Stern, Kingsley R. (2002). Introductory Plant Biology (10th ed.). McGraw Hill. ISBN 0-07-290941-2.
  5. ^ Nayak, Sanghamitra; Naik, Pradeep Kumar (2006). "Factors effecting in vitro microrhizome formation and growth in Curcuma longa L. and improved field performance of micropropagated plants". Science Asia. 32: 31–37. doi:10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2006.32.031.
  6. ^ Rayirath, Usha P; et al. (2011). "Role of ethylene and jasmonic acid on rhizome induction and growth in rhubarb (Rheum rhabarbarum L.)". Plant Cell Tissue Organ Culture. 105 (2): 253–263. doi:10.1007/s11240-010-9861-y.
  7. ^ Hogan, C. Michael (2008). Stromberg, Nicklas (ed.). "Western Poison-oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum)". GlobalTwitcher. Archived from the original on 2009-07-21.
  8. ^ Husby, C. (2003). "Ecology and Physiology of the Giant Horsetails". Florida International University. Archived from the original on 2009-07-14.
  9. ^ Lim, T.K. (2016). Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants (11th ed.). Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-26061-7.

External links

Alpinia galanga

Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family, bears a rhizome used as an herb in Southeast Asian cookery. It is one of four plants known as "galangal", and is differentiated from the others with the common names lengkuas, greater galangal, and blue ginger.


The bamboos (listen) are evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. The word "bamboo" comes from the Dutch or Portuguese languages, which probably borrowed it from Malay.

In bamboo, as in other grasses, the internodal regions of the stem are usually hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross-section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement. The dicotyledonous woody xylem is also absent. The absence of secondary growth wood causes the stems of monocots, including the palms and large bamboos, to be columnar rather than tapering.Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. Certain species of bamboo can grow 910 mm (36 in) within a 24-hour period, at a rate of almost 40 mm (1.6 in) an hour (a growth around 1 mm every 90 seconds, or 1 inch every 40 minutes). Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family.

Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, being used for building materials, as a food source, and as a versatile raw product. Bamboo has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete, and a specific tensile strength that rivals steel.

Boesenbergia rotunda

Boesenbergia rotunda, commonly known as Chinese keys, fingerroot, lesser galangal or Chinese ginger, is a medicinal and culinary herb from China and Southeast Asia. In English, the root has traditionally been called fingerroot, because the shape of the rhizome resembles that of fingers growing out of a center piece.

Fingerroot is a kind of ginger (Zingiberaceae). It is an annual crop and indigenous to southern Yunnan Province, China, to west Malaysia, growing in tropical rain forest. It has an underground trunk, known as a rhizome. This spreads into many bunches in the same way as ginger, galangal and turmeric. These structures accumulate nutrients and the middle part is more swollen than the head and bottom part. The inner part has a range of colours and aromas depending on the variety of fingerroot. The above-ground part is composed of a leaf stalk that has a sheath covering it. The leaf sheaths are red, the blades are oval in shape and the apex of leaves are sharp. Chinese ginger is a herbaceous plant with a height of 2–3 feet. The leaf is about 50 cm long and 12 cm wide. The middle of the petioles are deeply grooved. The flower appears between the leaf sheaths at the bottom of the trunk. The petals are white or light pink. Flowers bloom one at a time.


Galangal () is a common name for several tropical rhizomatous spices.


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or ginger, is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. It is a herbaceous perennial which grows annual pseudostems (false stems made of the rolled bases of leaves) about a meter tall bearing narrow leaf blades. The inflorescences bear pale yellow with purple flowers and arise directly from the rhizome on separate shoots.Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal. Ginger originated in Island Southeast Asia and was likely domesticated first by the Austronesian peoples. It was transported with them throughout the Indo-Pacific during the Austronesian expansion (c. 5,000 BP), reaching as far as Hawaii. Ginger was also one of the first spices exported from Asia, arriving in Europe with the spice trade, and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans. The distantly related dicots in the genus Asarum are commonly called wild ginger because of their similar taste.


Iridaceae is a family of plants in order Asparagales, taking its name from the irises, meaning rainbow, referring to its many colours. There are 66 accepted genera with a total of c. 2244 species worldwide (Christenhusz & Byng 2016). It includes a number of other well known cultivated plants, such as freesias, gladioli and crocuses.

Members of this family are perennial plants, with a bulb, corm or rhizome. The plants grow erect, and have leaves that are generally grass-like, with a sharp central fold. Some examples of members of this family are the blue flag and yellow flag.


Irideae is a tribe included in the well-known Iridaceae family. It contains many species in five genera which are widely distributed in the Old World. The tribe derives its name from Iris, which is the largest genus of the tribe.

The blooms, which are often with scent and collected in an inflorescence, have six petals. Those are identical only in the genus Ferraria. The ovary is 3-locular and contains seeds which are usually circular and pellet-like. The members has the typical sword-shaped leaves and the rootstock is usually rhizome or corm. Only two subgenera of Iris have bulbs. These are Xiphium and Hermodactyloides.

Many of the species are popular ornamental plants, but many are threatened with extinction.

List of genera:






Iris (plant)

Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the Greek word for a rainbow, which is also the name for the Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris. Some authors state that the name refers to the wide variety of flower colors found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also widely used as a common name for all Iris species, as well as some belonging to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. It is a popular garden flower.

The often-segregated, monotypic genera Belamcanda (blackberry lily, I. domestica), Hermodactylus (snake's head iris, I. tuberosa), and Pardanthopsis (vesper iris, I. dichotoma) are currently included in Iris.

Three Iris varieties are used in the Iris flower data set outlined by Ronald Fisher in his 1936 paper The use of multiple measurements in taxonomic problems as an example of linear discriminant analysis.


Juanfen (pinyin: juǎnfěn) is a type of flat rice noodle in China. It is made from ordinary non-glutinous rice.

Pictured left is a bowl of juǎnfěn (卷粉) as served 2015-12-01 in Guangnan, Wenshan, Yunnan, China. In addition to a vegetable broth and the noodles themselves, ingredients include lettuce, thinly cut tomato slices, fried peanuts, spring onion, zhe'ergen (a spicy local rhizome), chilli, powdered white pepper, garlic, soy sauce, powdered Sichuan pepper, and Sichuan pepper oil. The location, external seating on stools around a low table at the roadside, is typical of the region and food.

List of kampo herbs

Kampō (or Kanpō, 漢方) medicine is the Japanese study and adaptation of traditional Chinese medicine. In 1967, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare approved four kampo medicines for reimbursement under the National Health Insurance (NHI) program. In 1976, 82 kampo medicines were approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Currently, 148 kampo medicines are approved for reimbursement. [1]

The 14th edition of the Japanese Pharmacopoeia (JP) (日本薬局方 Nihon yakkyokuhō) lists 165 herbal ingredients that are approved to be used in kampo remedies. [2] The following are the most common herbs used in it:

Tsumura (ツムラ) is the leading maker;[3] they make 128 of the 148 kampo]] medicines. The "count" column shows in how many of these 128 formulae the herb is found. The most common herb is Glycyrrhizae Radix (Chinese liquorice root). It is in 94 of the 128 Tsumura formulae. Other common herbs are Zingiberis Rhizoma (ginger) (51 of 128 formulae) and Paeoniae Radix (Chinese peony root) (44 of 128 formulae).

Note 1: this character cannot be displayed correctly on a computer. "庶" is usually substituted in Chinese and Japanese. The "灬" in "庶" should be replaced with "虫".

Note 2: this character cannot be displayed correctly on a computer. "梨" is usually substituted in Chinese. "梨" or "藜" is usually substituted in Japanese. The "勿" in "藜" should be replaced with "刂".

List of root vegetables

Root vegetables are underground plant parts eaten by humans as food. Although botany distinguishes true roots (such as taproots and tuberous roots) from non-roots (such as bulbs, corms, rhizomes, and tubers, although some contain both hypocotyl and taproot tissue), the term "root vegetable" is applied to all these types in agricultural and culinary usage.Root vegetables are generally storage organs, enlarged to store energy in the form of carbohydrates. They differ in the concentration and the balance among starches, sugars, and other types of carbohydrate. Of particular economic importance are those with a high carbohydrate concentration in the form of starch; starchy root vegetables are important staple foods, particularly in tropical regions, overshadowing cereals throughout much of Central Africa, West Africa and Oceania, where they are used directly or mashed to make fufu or poi.

Many root vegetables keep well in root cellars, lasting several months. This is one way of storing food for use long after harvest, which is especially important in nontropical latitudes, where winter is traditionally a time of little to no harvesting. There are also season extension methods that can extend the harvest throughout the winter, mostly through the use of polytunnels.

Adherents of Jainism do not eat root vegetables.


Vascular plants with monopodial growth habits grow upward from a single point. They add leaves to the apex each year and the stem grows longer accordingly. The word Monopodial is derived from Greek "mono-", one and "podial", "foot", in reference to the fact that monopodial plants have a single trunk or stem.Orchids with monopodial growth often produce copious aerial roots that often hang down in long drapes and have green chlorophyll underneath the grey root coverings, which are used as additional photosynthetic organs. They do not have a rhizome or pseudobulbs so species adapted to dry periods have fleshy succulent leaves instead. Flowers generally come from the stem between the leaves. With some monopodial species, the stem (the rhizome) might fork into two, but for all monopodial orchids this is not necessary for continued growth, as opposed to orchids with sympodial growth.

Nelumbo nucifera

Nelumbo nucifera, also known as Indian lotus, sacred lotus, bean of India, Egyptian bean or simply lotus, is one of two extant species of aquatic plant in the family Nelumbonaceae. It is often colloquially called a water lily. Under favorable circumstances the seeds of this aquatic perennial may remain viable for many years, with the oldest recorded lotus germination being from that of seeds 1,300 years old recovered from a dry lakebed in northeastern China.It has a very wide native distribution, ranging from central and northern India (at altitudes up to 1,400 m or 4,600 ft in the southern Himalayas), through northern Indochina and East Asia (north to the Amur region; the Russian populations have sometimes been referred to as "Nelumbo komarovii"), with isolated locations at the Caspian Sea. Today the species also occurs in southern India, Sri Lanka, virtually all of Southeast Asia, New Guinea and northern and eastern Australia, but this is probably the result of human translocations. It has a very long history (c. 3,000 years) of being cultivated for its edible seeds, and it is commonly cultivated in water gardens. It is the national flower of India and Vietnam.


Podophyllum is an herbaceous perennial plant in the family Berberidaceae, described as a genus by Linnaeus in 1753. In the past, several species were included in the genus, but all but one have been transferred to other genera (Dysosma, Pilea, and Sinopodophyllum). The one remaining species is Podophyllum peltatum, with common names mayapple, American mandrake, wild mandrake, and ground lemon. It is widespread across most of the eastern United States and southeastern Canada.Mayapples are woodland plants, typically growing in colonies derived from a single root. The stems grow to 30–40 cm tall, with palmately lobed umbrella-like leaves up to 20–40 cm diameter with 3–9 shallowly to deeply cut lobes. The plants produce several stems from a creeping underground rhizome; some stems bear a single leaf and do not produce any flower or fruit, while flowering stems produce a pair or more leaves with 1–8 flowers in the axil between the apical leaves. The flowers are white, yellow or red, 2–6 cm diameter with 6–9 petals, and mature into a green, yellow or red fleshy fruit 2–5 cm long.All the parts of the plant are poisonous, including the green fruit, but once the fruit has turned yellow, it can be safely eaten in small amounts with the seeds removed.The substance they contain (podophyllotoxin or podophyllin) is used as a purgative and as a cytostatic. Posalfilin is a drug containing podophyllin and salicylic acid that is used to treat the plantar wart.

They are also grown as ornamental plants for their attractive foliage and flowers.

Though the common name is mayapple, it is the flower that appears in early May, not the "apple". The fruit or "apple" is produced early summer and ripens later in summer.

Many species of plants have mycorrhizae to assist with nutrient uptake in infertile conditions. Mayapple plants are considered obligately dependent upon such mycorrhizae, although it may also be facultatively dependent upon rhizome age and soil nutrient levels. Plants are commonly found infected by the rust Allodus podophylli, appearing as honeycomb-patterned orange colonies under the leaves, and yellowish lesions on the upper surface.


Polypodium is a genus of between 75-100 species of true ferns, widely distributed throughout the world, with the highest species diversity in the tropics. The name is derived from Ancient Greek poly (πολύ) "many" + podion (πόδιον) "little foot", on account of the foot-like appearance of the rhizome and its branches. They are commonly called polypodies or rockcap ferns, but for many species unique vernacular names exist.

They are terrestrial or epiphytic ferns, with a creeping, densely hairy or scaly rhizome bearing fronds at intervals along its length. The species differ in size and general appearance and in the character of the fronds, which are evergreen, persisting for 1-2 years, pinnate or pinnatifid (rarely simple entire), and from 10-80 cm or more long. The sori or groups of spore-cases (sporangia) are borne on the back of the frond; they are globose and naked, not covered with a membrane (indusium).

Polypodies have some use in herbalism, but are today most important in horticulture where several species, hybrids, and their cultivars like Polypodium 'Green Wave' are commonly used as ornamental plants for shady locations. Polypodium have a bitter-sweet taste and are among the rather few ferns that are used in cooking; in this case as a spice e.g. for nougat.


The pseudobulb is a storage organ found in many epiphytic and terrestrial sympodial orchids. It is derived from a thickening of the part of a stem between leaf nodes and may be composed of just one internode or several, termed heteroblastic and homoblastic respectively. All leaves and inflorescences usually arise from this structure. Pseudobulbs formed from a single internode produce the leaves and inflorescence from the top, while those that are formed from several internodes can possess leaves along its length. The modified sheath leaves that appear at the base of a pseudobulb and often enfold all or part of it are usually dry and papery, though in some orchids the sheaths bear leaf blades and the leaves at the pseudobulb's apex are reduced to scales.In some species, it is hardly swollen at all and looks like a normal stem with many leaves while at the other extreme, some genera such as Bulbophyllum have single, spherical pseudobulbs with one (or two) leaves at the apex of each. Whether cane-like (with many joints) or spherical (with one or few joints), they are all produced from a long-lived creeping stem called a rhizome which may itself be climbing or pendulous. The pseudobulbs are relatively short lived (1–5 years), but are continually produced from the growing tip of the rhizome and may persist for years after its last leaves senesce.

The term pseudobulb is used to distinguish the above-ground storage organ from other storage organs derived from stems that were underground, namely corms or true bulbs, a combination of an underground stem and storage leaves. Strictly speaking, there is no clear distinction between the pseudobulb and corm structures.

Rhizome (organization)

Rhizome is a not-for-profit arts organization that supports and provides a platform for new media art.

Rhizome (philosophy)

Rhizome is a philosophical concept developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari in their Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1972–1980) project. It is what Deleuze calls an "image of thought," based on the botanical rhizome, that apprehends multiplicities.

Scape (botany)

In botany, a scape is a long internode (a non-woody, leafless segment between two leaf-bearing regions) that forms the basal part or the whole of a peduncle (a herbaceous stem that is destined to bear one or more flowers or fruit). Typically it takes the form of a long, leafless flowering stem rising directly from a bulb, rhizome, or similar subterranean or underwater structure.

The scapes of scallions, chives, garlic chives, and garlic are used as vegetables.

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