Flowers grown from bulbs look similar to those grown from seeds, and many people may not even know which is which--at least from above ground. However, if you observed the part of the flower located beneath the ground, you would see the difference. Made up of various parts, the bulb holds everything needed to produce a flower when the time and conditions are right.
Tunic and Scales
Seen as a paper-like cover on the outside of a flower bulb, the tunic shields the bulb from becoming dry and from harm. A good example of this includes both onions or garlic bulbs found in your local produce aisle. Located under this protected layer are the scales or layers of white altered leaves responsible for retaining the necessary food and moisture essential to the growth of the flower. Appearance of the numerous scales resembles that of an onion as well.
Flower Bud and Lateral Buds
Nestled in the core of the bulb beneath several layers of scales, the flower bud resides. Containing all of the parts of the flower required, the flower bud is extremely sensitive and must not freeze. Lateral buds, bulblets or bulbels can emerge out of the bottom of the bulb during the growing period. This generates fresh and smaller bulbs every growing season. These new bulbs create additional new flowers and can be removed from the ground and planted in another location.
Basal Plate and Roots
Located at the very bottom (or base) of the flower bulb, the basal plate is a compacted stem that joins the flower bud and scales along with the roots of the plant. This vital element connects all the flower parts together, making it possible to form a flower. Growing down from the basal plate, the roots extend out and supply the required nutrients and water to the bulb flower when needed. Roots come out at the start of the growing season when the soil temperature is warm and water is obtainable.