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Question 8

Describe modifications of stem with suitable examples

Answer

Stems of various plants have undergone modifications to perform different functions.

Underground stems or storage stems:

Examples: Rhizomes, Corms, tubers

In ginger and banana, the underground stem is called a rhizome. The underground stem in Colocasia (arvi) is known as corm. Rhizomes and corms are underground stems, modified for the storage of food. Also, these stems help in vegetative reproduction of these plants. The tips of the underground stem in potato plants become swollen due to the accumulation of food. The potato is a tuber that helps in the storage of food and bears eyes on it. Subtended by a leaf scar, these eyes bear buds that give rise to new plants.

Supportive stems

Example: tendril

The stem in some weak plants bear thin, slender, and spirally-coiled structures called tendrils that help the plant get attached to nearby structures for support. Tendrils are found in cucumbers, melons, and other members of the family Cucurbitaceae.

Protective stems

Example: Thorns

The stem in bougainvillea and citrus plants (like lemon and orange) bear sharp, pointed structures called thorns, which provide protection to the plant from herbivores.



Photosynthetic stems

Example: Opuntia

The stem in the Opuntia is green. It carries out the process of photosynthesis in the absence of leaves.

Others stem modifications

In some plants, underground stems such as grasses spread in the soil and help in perenation. These stems are called runners.

The short lateral stem called the offset in some aquatic plants (such as Eichhornia) bears leaves and tufts of roots at the node and gives rise to new plants.

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