The term "bulb" is used by many to refer to plants that have underground, fleshy storage structures. Only some of the plants commonly called bulbs actually are "true bulbs". A "true bulb" has five major parts. It contains the basal plate (bottom of bulb from which roots grow), fleshy scales (primary storage tissue), tunic (skin-like covering that protects the fleshy scales), the shoot (consisting of developing flower and leaf buds), and lateral buds (develop into bulblets or offsets).
The definition of a bulb that we are using is in the broader sense and includes any plant that stores its complete life cycle in an underground storage structure. The primary function of these underground structures is to store nutrient reserves to ensure the plants' survival.
Bulbs or bulb-like plants are usually perennials in that they have a period of growth and flowering that is followed by a period of dormancy where they die back to ground level. For spring bulbs, the end of the growing season is in late spring or early summer. Spring bulbs start to grow again in the fall and flower the following growing season.
Bulbs can be broken down into five types of storage structures. These include: true bulbs, corms, tubers, tuberous roots and rhizomes. A sixth category of fleshy roots has been added here for the purpose of showing the structure. Daylilies and peonies, which are popular plants with gardeners, are examples of this type.
The plants listed below do not all fit even our broad definition of a bulbs but all have bulb-like storage structures that a the least make them similar to what one would call a bulb. For a complete list of "bulbs" as defined above (includes true bulbs, corms, rhizomes and tubers) Search Bulb in our database.