Differences Between Rhizome and Tuber

An Overview

The rhizome and tuber are the modified stems which store food.

What is rhizome?

Rhizomes are horizontal underground stems with non-green, fleshy, distinct nodes and internodes. These are brownish in colour and are auxiliary as well as apical buds. They contain terminal buds and run parallel to the ground

The common types of rhizomes are Alocasia indica, ginger and banana.

Rhizomes are also called root stalks, which usually grow perpendicular to the direction of the force of gravity, i.e. they grow horizontal. The rhizome rootstock grows vertically upwards instead of horizontal.

Also Read: Modifications of Root

What is tuber?

The tuber is a fleshy part of the plant which stores food. Potato is the most common tuber largely used as food. The lower part of the potato gets covered by the earth where the adventitious branches grow. The tuber is covered with a number of depressions called “eye” and each eye represents a node.

Also Read: Modifications of Stem

Let’s learn some more differences between rhizome and tuber.

Rhizome and Tuber- Differences




Grows horizontally inside the soil

Has fleshy roots


Rhizomes are thickened underground stems.

Tubers are modified stems with starchy interiors


Nodes bear adventitious roots

Nodes do not bear roots

Growth Habit

Rhizomes grow horizontally.

Tubers do not have a well-organized growing habit.

Shape and structure

Rhizomes are pear-shaped.

Tubers do not have a standard shape.

Morphological Features

The nodes of a tuber develop into roots and shoots.

The nodes of a tuber develop into both roots and stems.


Smaller in size compared to tubers

Larger in size than rhizomes.

Representative Plant Part

It is the underground stem.

It is the underground branches of the stem or underground root.

Starch Composition

Rhizomes are low in starch content.

Tubers are high in starch content.


Predominant classification cannot be found in Rhizomes.

There are two types of tubers-stem and root tubers.


Rhizomes produce an offspring.

Tubers grow in size every year.


Asparagus, Bamboo, Chinese lantern, ginger, Lotus, the Venus Flytrap, Western poison-oak, turmeric, etc.

Anemones, begonia, carrot, cassava, dahlia, oxalis, potato, sweet potatoes, Tuberous, yams, etc.

Also Refer: Difference between Corm and Bulb

This concludes some of the basic differences between rhizome and tuber. Stay tuned with BYJU’S Biology for more differences and other Biology related topics.

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