Plant stems can come in a variety of forms depending on the needs of the plant. In this lesson, you will learn about a type of plant stem known as a stolon.
What are Stolons?
Different plants have varying types of stems with adaptations that help the plant survive and complete its life functions. Stolons, which are sometimes called runners, are a type of horizontal, above-ground stem found in some species of plants that help the plant to propagate efficiently through asexual reproduction. Plants benefit from asexual reproduction because they do not have to be in the general area of another plant to mate, and since no other plants are involved they can reproduce more quickly.
Stolons are found in strawberry plants, many types of grasses, and numerous other plants. If you ever plant a row of strawberry plants in a garden you will quickly begin to see the role of stolons in their reproduction. Strawberry plants do not reproduce sexually like many other plants by exchanging pollen in the wind or by spreading pollen with the use of insects. Instead, the strawberry plants reproduce asexually using stolons to complete the process.A nice neat row of strawberry plants will soon have long projections of stems, known as stolons, sticking out in all directions from each of the plants. These stolons grow out as horizontal stems from the central plant.
Once they have grown a small distance from the other plant they will begin to grow a clone of the original strawberry plant at the end of the stolon. This process continues and continues until that original row of strawberry plants looks like a maze of numerous plants that have been produced through asexual reproduction using stolons.Another example of a plant that uses stolons belongs to the Desmoschoenus genus. These plants grow on the beaches of New Zealand and only grow in sparse patches. Since there is not a large population of the plants, they benefit from asexual reproduction. The plants grow in rows from stolons on the surface of the sand.
Let’s review. Stolons are horizontal, above-ground stems that are used by many plants as a means of asexual reproduction. The plants send out a stolon on the surface of the soil and grow a clone of the original plant on the end of it. Plants benefit from asexual reproduction because they do not have to be in the general area of another plant to mate, and since no other plants are involved, they can reproduce more quickly. Stolons are found in strawberry plants, numerous grasses, and plants that belong to the Desmoschoenus genus.