Botanical Glossary

abaxial: away from the axis, referring to the surface of an organ that is furthest from the axis in bud actinomorphic: having radially arranged floral segments which are more or less equal in size and shape acuminate: tapering gradually to an extended point acute: terminating in a distinct but not extended point, the converging edges forming an angle of less than 90 degrees adaxial: towards the axis, referring to the surface of an organ that is closest to the axis in bud alternate: borne singly and spaced around and along the axis, applied to leaves or other organs on an axis annual: a plant/tree whose life cycle is only one year articulated: consisting of segments held together by joints axillary: situated at the angle between one part of a plant and another part, e.g., a branch and a leaf basal: arising from or positioned at the base bipinnate: 2-pinnate; twice pinnately divided blade: part of the leaf above the sheath or petiole bract: a leaf-like structure, usually different in form from the normal leaves, associated with the inflorescence bulbous: shaped like a bulb; having an underground storage organ made up of enlarged and fleshy scales wrapped around each other from which flowers and leaves are produced calyx: the outermost part of a flower, usually green capsule: a dry fruit formed from two or more carpels that splits at maturity to release the seeds carpel: the female reproductive organ of a flower chartaceous: papery compound: consisting of two or more anatomically or morphologically equivalent units cordate: heart-shaped in outline coriaceous: leathery corolla: consists of petals or a corolla tube and corolla lobes crenate: with obtuse or rounded teeth which either point forwards or are perpendicular to the margin cuneate: obtriangular, i.e., wedge-shaped cylindrical: tubular- or rod-shaped cyme: an inflorescence in which each flower, in turn, is formed at the tip of a growing axis, further flowers being formed on branches arising below. adj. cymose decussate: having paired organs with successive pairs at right angles to give four rows dehiscent: breaking open at maturity to release the contents dentate: with sharp, spreading, rather coarse teeth standing out from the margin denticulate: finely dentate discoid: resembling a disc drupe: a fleshy or pulpy fruit with the inner portion of the pericarp hard or stony ellipsoid: elliptic in outline and with a length:breadth ratio between 3:2 and 2:1

elliptic: widest at the middle of the blade, with curved margins and pointed apex and base elongate: lengthened; stretched out endocarp: the innermost layer of the fruit wall, derived from the innermost layer of the carpel wall endospermous: possessing the nutritive tissue of a seed, consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids entire: without any incisions or teeth epiphyte: a plant growing on, but not parasitic on, another plant. adj. epiphytic erect: upright; perpendicular evergreen: a plant/tree that has leaves all year round exocarp: the outermost layer of the fruit wall, derived from the outermost layer of the carpel wall. Sometimes called epicarp exstipulate: leaves without stipules filament: the stalk of a stamen below the point of attachment to the anther

-foliolate: used with a number prefix to denote the number of leaflets follicle: a dry fruit, derived from a single carpel and dehiscing along one suture frond: the leaf of a fern or cycad fusiform: spindle-shaped, i.e., is circular in cross-section and tapering at both ends glabrous: without hairs glaucous: blue-green in colour, with a whitish bloom globose: spherical or globular; circular in outline herb: a plant which is non-woody or woody at the base only; some having medicinal properties herbaceous: herb-like; often applied to bracts, bracteoles or floral parts that are green and soft in texture hermaphrodite: self-pollinating plants containing both male and female reproductive organs, namely stamens and ovary respectively imbricate: closely packed and overlapping indehiscent: not opening or splitting to release the contents at maturity inflorescence: the arrangement of flowers in relation to the axis and to each other internode: the part of an axis between two successive nodes, joints or point of attachment of the leaves introduced: not indigenous; not native to the area in which it now occurs lanceolate: lance-shaped, much longer than wide, the widest point below the middle leaflet: one segment of a compound leaf leathery: possess the feel or texture of leather linear: long and narrow, with essentially parallel margins lobe: a usually rounded or pointed projecting part, usually one of two or more, each separated by a gap margin: the edge of the leaf blade mesocarp: the middle layer of the fruit wall derived from the middle layer of the carpel wall mucilaginous: soft, moist, viscous and slimy native: a plant indigenous to the locality oblanceolate: reverse lanceolate, widest above the middle of the blade oblong: rectangular, with nearly parallel margins, about two times as long as wide obovate: reverse ovate, with the broadest part above obtuse: blunt or rounded at the apex, the converging edges separated by an angle greater than 90 degrees opposite: describing leaves or other organs which are at the same level but on opposite sides of the stem ovate: broader part at the end of the base ovoid: egg-shaped; ovate in outline palmate: describing a leaf which is divided into several lobes panicle: a compound raceme; an indeterminate inflorescence in which the flowers are borne on branches of the main axis or on further branches of these. adj. paniculate paripinnate: pinnate with an even number of leaflets and without a terminal leaflet pedicel: the stalk of an individual flower perennial: with a life span extending over more than two growing seasons perianth: the outer floral whorl or whorls of a monocotyledonous flower pericarp: the wall of a fruit developed from the ovary wall. Composed of the exocarp, mesocarp and endocarp petal: free segment of the corolla petiole: the stalk of a leaf pinna: a primary segment of the blade of a compound leaf or frond. pl. pinnae pinnate: with the same arrangement as a feather plumule: the primary bud of an embryo or germinating seed pod: a dry dehiscent fruit containing many seeds prostrate: lying flat on the ground raceme: an unbranched flower spike where the flowers are borne on pedicels rachis: the axis of a pinna in a bipinnate leaf receptacle: the region at the end of a pedicel or on an axis which bears one or more flowers reniform: kidney-shaped in outline rhizome: a creeping stem, usually below ground, consisting of a series of nodes and internodes with adventitious roots rhombic: diamond-shaped, widest at the middle and with straight margins rosette: a tuft of leaves or other organs resembling the arrangement of petals in a rose serrate: toothed so as to resemble a saw; with regular, asymmetric teeth pointing forward sessile: without a stalk shrub: a woody plant usually less than 5 m high and many-branched without a distinct main stem except at ground level simple: not divided, e.g., applied to a leaf not divided into leaflets spathe: a large bract ensheathing an inflorescence or its peduncle spike: an unbranched inflorescence of sessile flowers or spikelets. adj. spicate stamen: one of the male organs of a flower, consisting typically of a stalk (filament) and a pollen-bearing portion (anther)

stellate: star-shaped, usually referring to hairs with radiating branches stipe: a stalk or support such as the petiole of a frond or the stalk of an ovary or fruit stipule: one of a pair of leaf-like, scale-like or bristle-like structures inserted at the base or on the petiole of a leaf or phyllode. adj. stipulate stolon: the creeping stem of a rosetted or tufted plant, giving rise to another plant at its tip strobilus: a cone-like structure formed from sporophylls or sporangiophores. pl. strobili succulent: fleshy, juicy, soft in texture and usually thickened tendril: a slender organ formed from a modified stem, leaf or leaflet which, by coiling around objects, supports a climbing plant terminal: at the apex or distal end tomentose: covered with not very long cottony hairs trigonous: obtusely 3-angled; triangular in cross-section with plane faces truncate: with an abruptly transverse end as if cut off tuber: a stem, usually underground, enlarged as a storage organ and with minute scale-like leaves and buds or "eyes"

umbel: an inflorescence in which the pedicels originate from one point on top of the peduncle and are usually of equal length undulate: with an edge or edges wavy in a vertical plane urceolate: urn-shaped variegate: diverse in colour or marked with irregular patches of different colours vein: the vascular tissue of the leaf verrucose: warty whorl: a ring-like arrangement of similar parts arising from a common point or node

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