annual cycle in the growth of a tulip bulb

A bulb is a short, underground storage stem composed of many fleshy scale leaves that are swollen with stored food and an outer layer of protective scale leaves. Small buds between the scale leaves give rise to new shoots each year. New bulbs are produced in the axils of the outer scale leaves.


Bulbs are a means of overwintering; in the spring, flowers and foliage leaves are rapidly produced when growing conditions are suitable. Examples of plants producing bulbs are daffodil, tulip, snowdrop, and onion.

See also food storage in plants.