The storage organ of the cyclamen is a round tuber that develops from the hypocotyl (the stem of a seedling). It is often mistakenly called a corm, but a corm (found in crocuses for example) has a papery tunic and a basal plate from which the roots grow. The storage organ of the cyclamen has no papery covering and, depending on the species, roots may grow out of any part. It is therefore properly classified as a tuber (somewhat like a potato). The tuber may produce roots from the top, sides, or bottom, depending on the species. Cyclamen persicum and Cyclamen coum root from the bottom; Cyclamen hederifolium roots from the top and sides. Cyclamen graecum has thick anchor roots on the bottom.

The shape of the tuber may be near spherical, as in Cyclamen coum or flattened, as in Cyclamen hederifolium. In some older specimens of Cyclamen purpurascens and Cyclamen rohlfsianum, growing points on the tuber become separated by shoulders of tissue, and the tuber becomes misshapen. In most other species, the tuber is round in old age.

Leaves and flowers sprout from growing points on the top of the tuber. Growing points that have lengthened and become like woody stems are known as floral trunks.

The size of the tuber varies depending on species. In Cyclamen hederifolium, older tubers commonly reach 24 cm (9.4 in) across, but in Cyclamen parviflorum, tubers do not grow larger than 2 cm (1 in) across.

Plants are one of the two groups into which all living things were traditionally divided; the other is animals. The division goes back at least as far as Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC), who distinguished between plants, which generally do not move, and animals, which often are mobile to catch their food. Much later, when Linnaeus (1707–1778) created the basis of the modern system of scientific classification, these two groups became the kingdoms Vegetabilia (later Metaphyta or Plantae) and Animalia (also called Metazoa). Since then, it has become clear that the plant kingdom as originally defined included several unrelated groups, and the fungi and several groups of algae were removed to new kingdoms. However, these organisms are still often considered plants, particularly in popular contexts.

Outside of formal scientific contexts, the term "plant" implies an association with certain traits, such as being multicellular, possessing cellulose, and having the ability to carry out photosynthesis.

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