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  A tale of tubers & corms
From: Wilbert Hetterscheid <hetter at vkc.nl> on 1998.06.19 at 18:56:28(2339)
Tuberophiles of the world!

This is gonna be a very short story! I seem to recall we have had this
discussion before and it is all the fault of your stupid English
language. Here in ye Olde Hollow Country we have no synonyms for these
underground storage facilities, so I don't understand the difference
between English corms and English tubers either. I suppose this goes
back to times when we were measuring in terms of "thumbs", "polluxes",
etc. Maybe if we all started to think decimal, the corm or tuber will
drop out as well.

O.k. serious: It is true, in Holland we have only one word (knol) for
what you guys call tubers/corms. The RHS dictionary of gardening says:

Corm: a solid, swollen, subterranean, bulb-like (is this to make things
easier?????) stem or stem-base; it is annual, the next year's corm
developing from the terminal bud or, in its absence, one of the lateral

From: "Walter V. Turner" <turner at mailgate.urz.uni-wuppertal.de> on 1998.06.19 at 19:01:34(2340)
This is my first posting, but I hope to ask more about chemistry later.

I hope someone is prepared to take an air sample at FTG? Or are the
chemicals responsible for the odor already well known? It would be a pity to
miss such an opportunity, if they aren't.

I presume the business about gas masks was a joke, though the odors of these
plants can be rather gross. Even so, you wouldn't need much of a sample to
identify the major components.


From: Lester Kallus <lkallus at earthlink.net> on 1998.06.20 at 00:32:17(2346)
When I think back to my college botany courses, I vaguely recall that a
tuber was a swollen root used for food storage. Now there are several
cobwebs standing in the way of this memory but it seems that the
definitions that several have offerred also included the word "stem" when
describing corms and the word "root" when describing tubers.

I have absolutely no recollection as to the technical difference between a
stem and a root if they're both above or below ground but isn't there some
xylem/phloem difference between them? It seems like the difference between
these two might be based on that.

Any botanists here (or anyone closer to their college botany text)?

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