What is a geophyte?


Geophytes are herbaceous plants in which the perennating buds are below ground, giving rise to corms, bulbs, or rhizomes. 

The term geophytes simply means "earth plant," a term coined about 100 years ago to describe those plants that shelter their resting bud in the soil when environmental conditions are not to their liking.

The vernacular synonym for geophyte is "bulb" in its broadest sense, but this is too limiting to describe these magnificent garden plants.  Geophytes may protect their resting bulb in any number of underground structures including bulbs, corms, rhizomes, tuberous roots, swollen tap roots and the ubiquitous crown.

The geophytic habit of growth is most common between 20 and 50 degrees north and south latitudes, the regions of the earth most prone to periods of cold, dry weather.  In areas with Mediterranean climates where crocus and daffodils originated the winters and springs are moist but the summers  -- when plants disappear below ground -- are hot and dry.

Hope this helps.  

  • Last Updated Aug 07, 2018
  • Views 479
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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