UoN The Hidden Half: Freesia
From Brian Atkinson
This X-ray CT scanned Freesia is from the species Fressia alba which is native to the cape of South Africa. Freesias are known for their funnel shaped flowers and are part of the Iris family. The ‘hidden half’ of Freesias are particularly interesting as the flower develops from an underground corm. The corm is an organ that looks similar to a bulb but develops from different tissues in the plant. Corms develop from the stem and contains solid tissue whilst a bulb is made up from modified leaves and consists of layers of scales. Corms and bulbs are food storage organs that allow the plants to survive in a dormant state through winter.
In this image you can see the root system is developing from the both the root and the corm, which is part of the stem. It is surprisingly common that roots form from the stem in plants. There are three distinct rooting structures observable from a single plant.