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This nOde last updated August 3rd, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
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rhizome (rì´zom´) noun
A horizontal, usually underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots from its internal linknodes. Also called rootstalk, rootstock.

[Greek rhizoma, mass of roots, from rhizoun, to cause to take root, from rhiza, root.]
- rhizom´atous (-zòm´e-tes, -zo´me-) adjective
- rhizom´ic adjective


Rhizome, any fleshy stem that grows horizontally, as a food-storing organ, beneath the surface of the ground, and enables a plant to reproduce itself. A rhizome, also called rootstock, is not a root, which is a food-gathering organ; rather, it grows roots on its lower side and shoots from its upper side. Unlike true roots, rhizomes have nodes, buds, and tiny leaves and do not die when cut; replanted, they yield new plants.

rhizome (noun)

plant: root, tuber, rhizome, bulb, corm, source

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"A rhizome has no beginning or end; it is always in the middle, between things."  This in-between is "by no means an average," a mediocre point between two old extremees, nor does it go "from one thing to the other and back again."  This between is "a transversal movement that sweeps one and the other away..."  Whereas trees are rooted to a single spot, coordinated by a central trunk and organized on fixed and vertical lines, this is not the only way plants grow.  Grasses, orchids, lilies, andinternal linkbamboos have no roots, but rhizomes, creeping underground stems which spread sideways on dispersed, horizontal internal linknetworks of swollen or slender filaments and produce internal linkaerial shoots along their length and surface as distributions of plants.  They defy categorization as individuated entities.  These plants are populations, multiplicities, rather than unified upright things.

Sadie Plant


This is not an absolute distinction.  Trees may be highly concentrated, but they are also composed of myriads of connecting elements which in turn are interlinked with everything else:  "Even when they have roots, there is always an outside where they form a rhizome with something else - with the wind, an animal, human beings..."  In this sense even the most tightly organized of entities is internal linkvirtually rhizomatic.  "Trees may correspond to a rhizome, or they may burgeon into a rhizome... the same thing is generally susceptible to both modes of calculation or both types of regulation, but not without undergoing a change in state."  There is nothing essentially centralized about the tree, but this doesn't alter the extent to which it stands as a single solid thing.  It is this mode of organization which makes it a tree, rather than a population of, for example, blades of grass.

There are "no point sor positions in a rhizome, such as those found in a structure, tree or root.  There are only lines."  A rhizome is a multiplicity, a network of subterranean stems rather than a system of root and branch.  "Any point of a rhizome can be connected to any other, and must be.  This is very different from the tree or root, which plots a point, fixes an order."  While a rhizome "may be broken, shattered at a given spot... it will start up again on one of is old lines, or on new lines.  You can never get rid of ants..."  It has no governing point or central organization, "Neither subject nor object, only determinations, magnititudes, and internal linkdimensions that cannot increase in number without the multiplicity changing in nature."

 - internal linkSadie Plant - _Ones And internal linkZeros_

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internal linklotus

lotus also lotos (lo´tes)  noun
1. a. An aquatic plant (Nelumbo nucifera) native to southern Asia and internal linkAustralia, having large leaves, fragrant, pinkish flowers, a broad, rounded, perforated seedpod, and fleshy rhizomes. b. The edible seed, leaf, or rhizome of this plant. c. Any of several similar or related plants, such as the internal linkwater lilies Nymphaea caerula or N. lotus.

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"Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it has multiple entryways." - Deleuze & Guattari, 1987

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 _A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia_ by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. Translated by Brian Massumi. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. 1987.]

"A rhizome as subterranean stem is absolutely different from roots and radicles. Bulbs and tubers are rhizomes. Plants with roots or radicles may be rhizomorphic in other respects altogether: the question is whether plant life in its specificity is not entirely rhizomatic. Even some animals are, in their pack form. Rats are rhizomes... The rhizome itself assumes very diverse forms, from ramified surface extension in all directions to concretion into bulbs and tubers...  We get the distinct feeling that we will convince no one unless we enumerate certain approximate characteristics of the rhizome." -p. 7

"A rhizome ceaselessly establishes connections between semiotic chains, organization of power, and circumstances relative to the arts, sciences, and social struggles." -p.7

"Multiplicities are rhizomatic, and expose arborescent pseudomultiplicities for what they are." -p. 8

"The rhizome is an antigenealogy." -p. 11

"Write, form a rhizome, increase your territory by deterritorialization, extend the line of flight to the point where it becomes an abstract machine covering the entire plane of consistency." -p. 11

"We're tired of trees." -p. 15

"To these centered systems [arborescent structures], the authors contrast acentered systems, finite internal linknetworks of automata in which communication runs from any neighbor to another, the stems or channels do not preexist, and all individuals are interchangeable, defined only by their state at a given moment--such that the local operations are coordinated and the final, global result synchronized without a central agency." -p. 17

"Let us summarize the principal characteristics of a rhizome: unlike trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point, and its traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature; it brings into play very different regimes of signs, and even nonsign states. The rhizome is reducible neither to the One nor the multiple... It is composed not of units but of internal linkdimensions, or rather directions in motion." -p. 21

"Unlike the tree, the rhizome is not the object of reproduction, neither external reproduction as image-tree nor internal reproduction as tree-structure. The rhizome is an antigenealogy. It is a short-term internal linkmemory, or antimemory. The rhizome operates by variation, expansion, conquest, capture, offshoots. Unlike the graphic arts, drawing, or photography, unlike tracings, the rhizome pertains to a map that must be produced, constructed, a map that is always detachable, connectable, reversible, modifiable, and has multiple entryways and exits and its own lines of flight. It is tracings that must be put on the map, not the opposite. In contrast to centered (even polycentric) systems with hierarchical modes of communication and preestablished paths, the rhizome is an acentered, nonhierarchical, nonsignifying system with a General and without an organizing memory or central automation, defined solely by a circulation of states." -p. 21

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