AskDefine | Define rhizome

Dictionary Definition

rhizome n : a horizontal plant stem with shoots above and roots below serving as a reproductive structure [syn: rootstock, rootstalk]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A horizontal underground stem of some plants that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes.


a horizontal underground stem of some plants
  • Finnish: maavarsi
  • French: rhizome
  • Hungarian: rizóma
  • Italian: rizoma
  • Portuguese: rizoma

Extensive Definition

In botany, a rhizome is a horizontal stem of a plant that is usually found underground, often sending out roots and shoots from its nodes. Plants with underground rhizomes include ginger, hops, and turmeric, significant for their medicinal properties, and the weeds Johnson grass, bermuda grass, and purple nut sedge. Some plants have rhizomes that grow above ground or that sit at the soil surface, including some Iris species, and ferns, whose spreading stems are rhizomes. Rhizomes may also be referred to as creeping rootstalks, or rootstocks. A stolon is similar to a rhizome, but, unlike a rhizome, which is the main stem of the plant, a stolon sprouts from an existing stem, has long internodes, and generates new shoots at the end, e.g., the strawberry plant. In general, rhizomes have short internodes; they send out roots from the bottom of the nodes and new upward-growing shoots from the top of the nodes.
For many plants, the rhizome is used by gardeners to propagate the plants by a process known as vegetative reproduction. Examples of plants that are propagated this way include asparagus, ginger, irises, Lily of the Valley, Cannas, and sympodial orchids.
A stem tuber is a thickened part of a rhizome or stolon that has been enlarged for use as a storage organ. In general, a tuber is high in starch, for example, the common potato, which is a modified stolon. The term tuber is often used imprecisely, and is sometimes applied to plants with rhizomes.
The rhizome is a key metaphor in the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.


rhizome in Catalan: Rizoma
rhizome in Czech: Oddenek
rhizome in Danish: Rhizom (botanik)
rhizome in German: Rhizom
rhizome in Estonian: Risoom
rhizome in Spanish: Rizoma (botánica)
rhizome in Esperanto: Rizomo
rhizome in French: Rhizome
rhizome in Indonesian: Rizoma
rhizome in Italian: Rizoma
rhizome in Hebrew: קנה שורש
rhizome in Lithuanian: Šakniastiebis
rhizome in Hungarian: Gyöktörzs
rhizome in Dutch: Wortelstok
rhizome in Japanese: 地下茎
rhizome in Polish: Kłącze
rhizome in Portuguese: Rizoma
rhizome in Romanian: Rizom
rhizome in Slovenian: Korenika
rhizome in Serbian: Ризом
rhizome in Finnish: Maavarsi
rhizome in Vietnamese: Thân rễ
rhizome in Ukrainian: Кореневище
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