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rhizome

rhizome (rĪˈzōm) [key] or rootstock, fleshy, creeping underground stem by means of which certain plants propagate themselves. Buds that form at the joints produce new shoots. Thus if a rhizome is cut by a cultivating tool it does not die, as would a root, but becomes several plants instead of one, which explains why such weeds as Canada thistle and crabgrass are so hard to eradicate. Ginger, the common iris, trillium, and Solomon's-seal all have rhizomes. True arrowroot is starch from the rhizome of a West Indian plant. See perennial.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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