Runner – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Botanical Glossary

I. What is a Runner in Botany?

In botany, a runner is a specialized stem that grows horizontally above or below the ground, producing new plants at various intervals. Runners are also known as stolons and are a form of asexual reproduction in plants. They are commonly found in species that spread rapidly and need to colonize new areas quickly.

II. How do Runners Function in Plants?

Runners function as a means of vegetative propagation in plants. They allow plants to reproduce asexually by producing new plants that are genetically identical to the parent plant. Runners grow horizontally from the main plant, sending out roots and shoots at nodes along the stem. These roots anchor the runner to the ground, while the shoots grow into new plants.

III. What are the Different Types of Runners?

There are several different types of runners found in plants, each with its own unique characteristics. Surface runners grow above the ground, while subterranean runners grow below the surface. Some plants produce above-ground runners that can root at nodes along the stem, while others produce below-ground runners that send out roots from the nodes.

IV. How do Plants Reproduce Using Runners?

Plants reproduce using runners by sending out horizontal stems that produce new plants at intervals. As the runner grows, it sends out roots and shoots at nodes along the stem. The roots anchor the runner to the ground, while the shoots grow into new plants. This process allows plants to colonize new areas quickly and efficiently.

V. How can Runners be Utilized in Gardening?

Runners can be utilized in gardening as a means of propagating plants quickly and easily. By allowing plants to produce new offspring that are genetically identical to the parent plant, runners can help gardeners create new plants without the need for seeds or other forms of propagation. This can be especially useful for plants that are difficult to grow from seed or that have desirable traits that gardeners want to preserve.

VI. What are Some Examples of Plants that Produce Runners?

There are many examples of plants that produce runners as a means of reproduction. Some common examples include strawberries, spider plants, and creeping Jenny. Strawberries are well-known for their above-ground runners, which allow them to spread rapidly and produce new plants. Spider plants produce above-ground runners that can be easily propagated by cutting and planting in soil. Creeping Jenny produces below-ground runners that help it spread and cover large areas quickly. These are just a few examples of plants that utilize runners in their reproductive strategy.