Each spring, buds burst forth with new leaves, flowers, and stems. But sometimes those buds appear in unusual places.
Normal stems produce one or more buds at nodes. Nodes are those small bumps you see along stems. The plant cells at nodes are different from plant cells elsewhere along the stem. Those cells are what make buds and leaves possible.
We expect to see terminal buds at the end of stems and axillary or lateral buds along the sides of a stem. This is where a leaf is already connected, on a shoot node at the leaf axil. These are normal ways of growing buds for vascular plants. But adventitious buds are rogues and outliers. This can be to their advantage. It can also be risky.
Adventitious buds turn up in strange places. You may find them along internodes, on leaves, in the callus of fresh pruning cuts, on new shoots, and even on roots. These buds are called adventitious because they take advantage of unusual opportunities.
In response to injury
When a plant is injured, whether through pruning, herbivore or insect feeding, fire, or mechanical injury, a whole slew of responses kick in to seal off the affected area. And sometimes the plant responds by trying to replace the damaged stems using adventitious buds. These buds may appear out from under the bark, at a pruning cut. They may pop up on the stump of a severed cactus.
As for the risks mentioned earlier, when a stem produces a lot of secondary growth, adventitious buds are often killed off. I have no idea who makes that decision or how it is carried out. I guess plants figure those outliers are expendable, as is often the case.
Which plants in your garden have adventitious buds?
You can grow a surprising amount of food in your own yard. Ask me how!
To help The Daily Garden grow, you may see affiliate ads sprouting up in various places. These are not weeds. Pluck one of these offers and, at no extra cost to you, I get a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from these qualifying purchases. You can also get my book, Stop Wasting Your Yard!