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In the plant world, the term 'bud' is given to an embryonic or undeveloped shoot. Once a bud forms, it can immediately grow into a shoot, or even stay dormant for a period of time before developing. Buds usually grow at the end of a plant stem, or in the axil of a leaf.

In areas of the world with cooler climates, the bud in ensconced by scales. These scales are actually modified leaves that enclose the delicate bud. As the bud grows, these scales fall off, leaving marks on the branch. Each new growing season sees new buds, and therefore, new scars. Just like you can tell the age of a tree by the rings on a cross-section, these scars allow people to determine the age of younger branches on a woody plant.

Types of Buds

Just like any other part of a plant, there are many different types of buds. Below are descriptions of the different types of buds. An individual bud can fall into several different categories.


Accessory buds only occur when an axillary bud is present. They grow on either side the axillary bud.


Buds that grow on any place other than the stem node are called adventitious buds. For example, they grow on the roots, crown tissue, or on rhizomes.


This is one of the most common types of buds. The axillary bud grows in the axil of a leaf.


A dormant bud is one that is not growing. This is usually due to cold weather conditions. Buds can also be dormant because of dry weather.


A flower bud is when embryonic flowers occur on the stem tip. Examples of plants with flower buds are the Magnolia and the Cherry Tree.


Buds that form not at the ends of the stem, but on the sides, are referred to as lateral buds.


When the tip of a stem contains embryonic leaves, it is called a leaf bud.


A mixed bud, quite simply, contains different materials. A mixed bud has both embryonic leaves and embryonic flowers.


A naked bud does not have a scaled covering. This normally occurs only in warmer climates.


Being common on the persimmon plant, pseudoterminal buds are actually lateral buds that have replaced the function of terminal buds.


A bud that contains embryonic flowers is called a reproductive bud.


The buds mentioned at the beginning of this page are scaly buds. These buds have protective covering that fall off as they grow. Usually only occur in colder climates.


Buds that grow right on the ends of stems are called terminal stems.


Buds that contain embryonic leaves are called vegetative buds.

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