Glossary of Gardening Terms

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Glossary of botanical and horticultural technical terms.

The following set of words includes many descriptive terms used on and elsewhere, with explanations of their meaning.

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Aberrant. Unusual, or exceptional; a plant or structure that varies from customary structure or from the type; used mostly of variation.

Abortive. Defective; barren; not developed.

Abrupt. Changing suddenly rather than gradually, as a leaf that is narrowed quickly to a point, or a pinnate leaf that has no terminal leaflet; not tapering.

Acaulescent. Stemless, or apparently stemless; sometimes the stem is subterranean or protrudes only slightly.

Accessory buds. Buds more than one in an axil.

Accessory fruit. Fruit-like body composed of pericarp and other structure or structures seemingly a part of it, but not originally united with it, as wintergreen berry.

Accrescent. Increasing; becoming larger after flowering, as the calyx in some plants.

Accumbent. Lying against; said of cotyledons when the edges are placed against the radicle.

Achene (akene). A dry indehiscent one-seeded pericarp.

Achlamydeous. Lacking calyx or corolla; naked.

Acinaciform. Shaped like a scimitar; curved, round toward the point, being thicker on the outer side than on the convex or inner side.

Acotyledonous. Without cotyledons.

Adnate. Grown to, united with another part; as stamens with the corolla-tube or an anther in its whole length with the filament.

Adventitious buds. Buds appearing on occasion, rather than in regular places and order, as those arising about wounds.

Adventive. Said of an introduced plant not yet established; imperfectly or only partially naturalized.

Aestivation. The arrangement of floral envelopes in the bud (aestivus, summer, when flowers mostly appear. Vernation is leaf-arrangement in the bud).

Affinity. A plant or part closely related to another or much resembling it in structure.

Agglomerate. Piled together, heaped up.

Aggregate fruit. One formed by the coherence of pistils that were distinct in the flower, as blackberry.

Albumen. Starchy or other nutritive material accompanying the embryo; commonly used in the sense of endosperm, for the material surrounding the embryo.

Alburnum. The sapwood or younger wood of a tree.

Alternate. Any arrangement of leaves or other parts not opposite or whorled; placed singly at different heights on the axis or stem.

Alveolate. Honey-combed, or pitted with angular separated depressions.

Ament. Catkin.

Amentiferous. Bearing aments or catkins.

Amorphous. Formless; of no definite or constant form.

Amphigean. Of both worlds, the Old and New; said of distribution of plants.

Amphitropous. Said of a straight ovule or seed that is apparently turned a quarter way around, so that it is half inverted and with the scar or hilum on the side.

Ampullaceous. Said of plants bearing flask-like parts, as in certain aquatics such as Utricularia.

Analogous. Related in function or use, but not in origin. See Homologous.

Anastomosing. Netted; interveined; said of leaves marked by cross-veins forming a network.

Anatropous. Said of a straight ovule or seed that is inverted, with the micropyle next the hilum or scar.

Ander. Male; occurs in combinations as, monandraus, having one stamen.

Andraeceum. The male or stamen-bearing part of a flower; the stamens spoken of collectively. See Gynaecium.

Androphore. The cylinder or column formed by monadelphous filaments, as in the mallow and bombax tribes.

Angiosperms. Plants that bear the seeds within a pericarp, in distinction from the gymnosperms which have naked ovules and seeds; having a closed ovary.

Annual. Of one season's duration from seed to maturity and death.

Anterior. Front; on the front side; away from the axis; toward the subtending bract.

Anther. The pollen-bearing part of the stamen, borne at the top of the filament or sometimes sessile.

Antheriferous. Anther-bearing.

Anthesis. Flowering; strictly, the time of expansion of a flower, but often used to designate the flowering period; the act of flowering.

Anthocarpous. Said of a body combined of flowers and fruit united into a solid mass, as in the pineapple or the mulberry.

Anthodium. Flower-head of the Composite; in common speech this flower-head is erroneously called a "flower."

Antical. Front, anterior.

Apetalous. No petals; petals missing.

Apical. At the apex or top.

Apocarpus. Carpels not united; see Syncarpous.

Appendage. An attached subsidiary or secondary part, as a projecting part or a hanging part or supplement.

Appressed. Closely and flatly pressed against; adpressed.

Arachnoid. Cobwebby, by soft and slender entangled hairs; also spider-like.

Areole, areola. A small more or less angular space on a surface, as between network of veins.

Aril. An appendage or an outer covering of a seed, growing out from the hilum or funiculus; sometimes it appears as a pulpy covering.

Arillate. Provided with an aril.

Arillode. An aril-like structure, or false aril; a coating or covering of the seed arising from its own surface, and not from the funiculus.

Armed. Provided with any kind of strong and sharp defense, as of thorns, spines, prickles, barbs.

Articulate. Jointed; provided with nodes or joints, or places where separation may naturally take place.

Ascending. Rising up; produced somewhat obliquely or indirectly upward.

Asexual. Sexless; without sex.

Auricle. An ear-shaped part or appendage, as the projections at the base of some leaves and petals.

Awl-shaped. Narrow and sharp-pointed; gradually tapering from base to a slender or stiff point.

Awn. A bristle-like part or appendage.

Axil. Upper angle that a petiole or peduncle makes with the stem that bears it.

Axile. Borne in or on the axis, or relating to it.

Axillary. In an axil.

Axis. The main or central line of development of any plant or organ; the main stem.


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Bacca. A berry.

Baccate. Berry-like; pulpy or fleshy.

Banded. Marked with cross-bars or horizontal lines of color, or with very prominent ribs or other structure.

Barb. A short point or bristle; usually employed to designate points with reflexed or fishhook-like rarely ascending appendages.

Barbulate. With fine beards.

Bark. The word is often used in a general way to designate the softer outer envelope of a stem or root. In this sense, it includes all that peels readily, as the bark of the hemlock and oak, used for tanning leather. In a stricter sense, it is applied to the corky layers formed on the outer surface of woody plants. It is formed from an active layer of tissue,—the phellogen. The bark is developed in different ways on different trees. So distinct are the resulting tissues that species of trees may be readily recognized by their bark alone. Cork of commerce is the bark of the cork oak, a native of southwestern Europe. Inasmuch as the word covers so many structures, it is little used by botanists in technical descriptions.

Bark-grafting. A kind of grafting in which the cions are inserted between the bark and wood of a stub; often, but erroneously, called crown-grafting.

Base. The bottom or lower end of a part or structure or organ, even though this part may be uppermost as the organ hangs on the plant.

Basifixed. Attached or fixed by the base, as an ovule that is affixed to its support by its bottom rather than by its side or by an angle.

Basin. The depression at the apex or blossom-end of an apple or other pome fruit.

Basinerved. All the ribs or nerves of a leaf or petal starting from its base.

Bast. The soft part of the fibro-vascular bundles in plants, abundant in the inner bark. It increases in thickness simultaneously with the wood, but much less rapidly. The fibrous elements in the bast of basswood have been used in making cordage; also in making strong paper.

Beak. A long prominent and substantial point; applied particularly to prolongations of fruits and carpels.

Beard. A long awn or bristle-like hair.

Berry. Pulpy, indehiscent, few- or many-seeded fruit; technically, the pulpy fruit resulting from a single pistil, containing one or more seeds but no true stone, as the tomato.

Bi- or Bis-. In Latin compounds, signifying two or twice.

Biauriculate, biaurite. Having two ears.

Bicallose, bicallous. Furnished with two callosities, as the lip of some orchids.

Bicrural. With two tails, legs, or slender elongations.

Biennial. Of two seasons' duration from seed to maturity and death.

Bifarious. Arranged in two rows.

Bifid. Two-cleft or two-cut.

Bifoliolate. With two leaflets to a leaf.

Biforate. With two openings, pores or apertures.

Bigener. Plant arising from a cross between two genera.

Bilabiate. Two-lipped, double-lipped.

Bilamellate. Bearing or consisting of two plates.

Bilobed. Two-lobed; parted into two lobes.

Bilocular. Two-celled; with two locules or compartments.

Bipartite. Divided into two parts; separated nearly to base.

Bipinnate. Twice-pinnate; when the primary divisions are pinnate.

Bipinnatifid. Twice-pinnatifid; when pinnatifid primary parts are pinnately cut.

Biplicate. Bearing two plaits or folds.

Biseptate. Twice-divided; with two partitions.

Biserial. In two series or sets.

Biserrate. Doubly serrate; the serratures themselves serrate.

Bisexual. Two-sexed; with both stamens and pistils.

Biternate. Twice-ternate; when the divisions of a ternate leaf are divided into three.

Bivalvular. Two-valved.

Bivittate. With two vittae or oil-tubes.

Bladdery. Inflated; empty, and the walls thin like the bladder of an animal.

Blade. The expanded part of leaf or petal.

Blanching. A whitening or decoloring of the usually green parts of plants, as in celery or endive when it is prepared for use.

Bole. The trunk of a tree, particularly of a large tree.

Boss. A prominent center or projection on a flat and more or less circular surface.

Bottom-heat. A term used to designate the condition that arises when the roots of plants, or the soil in which they grow, are exposed to a higher temperature than that of the air in which the aerial parts are growing.

Brachiate. Branches or parts spreading at nearly right- angles and placed alternately.

Brachys. In Greek compounds, signifying short, as brachypodus, on a short foot or stalk.

Bract. A much-reduced leaf, particularly the small or scale-like leaves in a flower-cluster or associated with the flowers.

Bracteal. Concerning or pertaining to bracts.

Bracteole. Bractlet.

Bractlet. Bract born on a secondary axis, as on the pedicel or even on a petiole.

Breaking. Said when buds start to grow.

Bristly. Bearing stiff strong hairs or bristles.

Bud. An incipient or nascent shoot; the rudimentary or beginning state of a stem; particularly, in common speech, a thickened and condensed resting-stage of a shoot, or a flower or leaf before expanding; in propagating, a single bud used on a cutting or cion.

Budding. The operation of applying a single bud to the surface of the growing wood of the stock, with the intention that it shall grow. The bud is usually inserted underneath the bark of the cion, and is held in place by a bandage. Budding is a part of the general process of grafting. Called inoculation in old writings.

Bulb. A thickened part in a resting state and made up of scales or plates on a much shortened axis.

Bulbel. A bulb arising from a mother-bulb.

Bulbiferous. Bulb-bearing.

Bulblet. Aerial bulb; a bulb borne above ground, as in the flower-cluster or a leaf-axil.

Bulbo-tuber. Corm.

Bulbous. Bulb-like; with the structure or the characteristics of a bulb.

Bullate. The surface blistered or puckered, as the leaf of a Savoy cabbage.

Bursicle. A little pouch-like or purse-like receptacle.

Bush. A low and thick shrub, without distinct trunk.


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Caducous. Falling off early, or prematurely, as the sepals in some plants.

Calcarate. Spurred.

Calcariform. Spur-formed; shaped like a calcar or spur.

Calceolate. Slipper-like; having the form of a rounding toed shoe.

Callosity. A thickened and hardened part or protuberance.

Callus. A hard prominence or protuberance; in a cutting or on a severed or injured part, the roll of new covering tissue.

Calycine. Pertaining to a calyx, or calyx-like.

Calyculate. Calyx-like; bearing a part resembling a calyx; particularly, furnished with bracts against or underneath the calyx resembling a supplementary or outer calyx.

Calyptra. A hood or lid; particularly the hood or cap of the capsule of a moss.

Calyptriform. Hood-formed; like a cap pulled over.

Calyx. The outer circle of floral envelopes.

Cambium. The growing or nascent tissue lying between the xylem and phloem of the fibro-vascular bundle, and therefore on the outside of the woody trunk between wood and bast, or in trees and shrubs between wood and "bark." Its function is to increase the stem in diameter.

Campanulate. Bell-shaped.

Campylotropous. Said of an ovule or seed so curved or turned on itself as to bring the apex and base together.

Canaliculate. Grooved or channeled lengthwise.

Canescent. Gray-pubescent and hoary.

Cap. A convex removable covering of a part, as of a capsule; in the grape, the cohering petals fall off as a cap.

Capillary. Hair-like; very slender.

Capitate. Headed; in heads; formed like a head; aggregated into a very dense or compact cluster.

Capitulum. Head; a close body of sessile flowers.

Capsular. Pertaining to a capsule; formed like a capsule.

Capsule. Compound pod; a dry fruit of more than one carpel, opening at maturity.

Carinate. Keeled; provided with a projecting central longitudinal line or ridge on the lower or under surface.

Carpel. One of the foliar units of a compound pistil; a simple pistil contains one carpel.

Carpophore. Fruit-stalk; stem bearing the carpels; particularly, in the Umbelliferae, the slender extended axis that supports the ripe seed-like carpels.

Cartilaginous. Hard and tough, like parchment.

Caruncle. On a seed, a protuberance or growth at or around the hilum.

Caryopsis. An achene-like fruit, with the thin pericarp or covering grown fast to the seed; it is the characteristic fruit of the cereal grains and other grasses.

Cataphyll. An undeveloped leaf, as at the beginning of a growth.

Catkin. A scaly-bracted spike with declinous flowers; ament; prominent in willows and poplars.

Caudex. Stem, trunk; used particularly to designate the persistent base of an herbaceous stem that is otherwise annual, and also for the stem of tree-ferns and palms.

Caudicle. Little stem, stemlet; stalk of pollinium in orchids.

Caulescent. More or less stemmed or stem-bearing; having an evident stem above ground.

Caulicle. Stemlet of the embryo; radicle.

Cauline. Pertaining or belonging to the stem.

Cavity. The depression at the bottom or stem-end of an apple or similar fruit.

Cell. One of the ultimate compartments or vesicles of which plants are composed or made up; also, a cavity or compartment or locule of an ovary or anther.

Cellular. Tissue made up of short thin-walled cells, rather than of fibers or tubes.

Centrifugal. Away from the center.

Centripetal. Toward the center.

Centrum. The central part of any structure; particularly the large central air-space in hollow stems.

Cephalanthium. An old name for the flower-head of composites; anthodium.

Cephalium. The head-like stem-end of condensed cacti, bearing the flowers and fruits.

Cernuous. Drooping; inclining somewhat from the perpendicular.

Cespitose. Matted; growing in tufts; in little dense clumps; said of low plants that make tufts or turf of their basal growths.

Chaeta. A bristle; seta.

Chaff. A small thin dry and membranous scale or bract; in particular, the bracts in the flower-heads of composites.

Champain. Expanse of flat, open countryside.

Channeled. Deeply grooved lengthwise; canaliculate.

Chartaceous. Thin, hard and stiff; having the texture of writing-paper.

Chrysos. In Greek compounds, signifying golden or golden yellow.

Ciliate. Fringed with hairs; bearing hairs on the margin.

Ciliolate. Slightly or minutely ciliate.

Cinereous. Ash-colored; light gray.

Cinnamomeus. Cinnamon-colored.

Cion. The bud or branch used in grafting; also spelled scion.

Circinate. Coiled downward or inward from the top, as the young frond of a fern and cycas.

Circumscissile. Opening or dehiscing by a line around the fruit or anther, the valve usually coming off as a lid.

Cirrhiferous. Tendril-bearing.

Cirrhiform. Tendril-form.

Cirrhus, cirrus. A tendril.

Cladophyllum. A flattened leaf-like branch, functioning as foliage, as in many acacias and in asparagus.

Clados. In Greek compounds, signifying a branch.

Clasping. Leaf partly or wholly surrounding stem.

Clavate. Club-shaped; said of a long body thickened toward the top.

Claw. The long narrow petiole-like base of the petals or sepals in some flowers.

Cleistogamous flowers. Small closed self-fertilized flowers, as in some violets and in many other plants.

Close fertilization. Fecundation by pollen from same flower; self-fertilization.

Clove. One of the separable parts of a composite bulb, as of the garlic.

Clypeate. With the form of an ancient buckler or round convex shield; shield-like.

Coalescence. The union of similar parts or organs, or of those in the same series as stamens with stamens and petals with petals.

Coarctate. Crowded together.

Coccus. A berry (plural cocci); in particular, one of the parts of a lobed fruit with one-seeded cells.

Cochleariform. Spoon-shaped.

Coherent. Two or more similar parts or organs joined.

Cohesion. The union of two or more organs of same kind.

Collateral. By the side; standing side by side.

Column. Body formed of union of stamens and pistil in orchids, or of stamens, as in mallows.

Commissure. The place of joining or meeting; as the face by which one carpel joins another.

Comose. Bearing a tuft or tufts of hair.

Complete flower. All parts present.

Complete leaf. Having blade, petiole, stipules.

Complicate. Folded over or back on itself.

Compound. Of two or more similar parts in one organ.

Compound leaf. A leaf with two or more separate leaflets; in some cases (as in Citrus) some of the leaflets may be obsolete and the compound leaf have only one leaflet.

Compound pistil. Of two or more carpels united.

Compressed. Flattened, especially flattened laterally.

Conchiform. Shell-form; like one valve of a bivalve shell.

Conduplicate. Two parts folded together lengthwise.

Cone. A dense and usually elongated collection of flowers or fruits borne beneath scales, the whole with scales and axis forming a detachable homogeneous fruit-like body; some cones are of short duration, as the staminate cones of pines, and others become dry and woody durable parts .

Confluent. Running together so as to form a single part or organ; blended.

Conformed. Of the same form or character as something else or as a related part or structure.

Congested. Crowded very closely together; collected into a mass or body.

Conglobate. Gathered into a ball or globe.

Conglomerate. Clustered; brought together.

Coniferous. Cone-bearing.

Connate. United or joined; in particular, like or similar structures joined as one body or organ.

Connective. The filament or tissue connecting the two cells of an anther, particularly when the cells are separated.

Connivent. Coming together or converging, but not organically connected.

Conoidal. Cone-like; nearly conical.

Convolute. Said of floral envelopes in the bud when one edge overlaps the next part or petal or sepal or lobe while the other edge or margin is overlapped by a preceding part; rolled up.

Cordate. Heart-shaped; with a sinus and rounded lobes at the base and ovate in general outline.

Cork. The name applied to the outer impervious mostly not-living part of the bark. Most bark, develops a corky exterior, and in some cases it becomes very prominent. In Enonymous thunbergianus, the English maple, the corky barked elm, and other trees and shrubs, it forms wings on the branches. The cork of commerce comes from the bark of Quercus ilex (better known as Q. Suber), plantations of which grow in southwestern Europe. The cork tree of the catalogues, Phellodendron amurense, is a curious tree, cultivated for ornament.

Corm. A solid bulb-like part, usually subterranean, as the "bulb" of crocus and gladiolus.

Cormel. A corm arising from a mother-corm.

Cormlet. Aerial corm, or one borne in the inflorescence or in the leaf axils.

Cormous. With corms, or pertaining to corms.

Corneous. Horny; hard and very dense in texture.

Corniculate. Bearing or terminating in a small horn-like protuberance or process.

Corolla. Inner circle of floral envelopes; if the parts are separate, they are petals; if not separate, they are teeth, lobes or divisions..

Corona. Crown, coronet; any appendage or intrusion that stands between the corolla and stamens, or on the corolla, as the cup of a daffodil, or that is the outgrowth of the staminal part or circle, as in the milkweeds.

Coroniform. Crown-formed or crown-like; corona-like.

Corticate. Having a cortex or hard bark; also having a rind, as the lemon and orange.

Corymb. Short and broad, more or less flat-topped indeterminate flower-cluster.

Corymbose inflorescence. Outer flowers opening first.

Costa. A rib; in particular a strong rib or line, as a midrib or mid-nerve.

Costate. Ribbed.

Cotyledon. Seed-leaf; the primary leaf or leaves in the embryo; in some plants the cotyledon always remains in the seed-coats and in others (as bean) it emerges on germination.

Crateriform. Deep saucer-shaped; cup-shaped.

Creeper. A trailing shoot that takes root in the ground throughout its length.

Crenate. Shallowly round-toothed or obtusely toothed.

Crenulate. Finely or shallowly crenate.

Crested. With elevated and irregular or toothed ridge.

Cribrose. Sieve-like; with numerous small apertures.

Crop. Produce of tilled, cared-for or protected plants.

Croppage. The whole subject of the producing of crops.

Cross. The offspring of any two flowers that have been fertilized. A cross-breed is a cross between varieties of the same species. Synonyms are half-breed, mongrel, variety-hybrid. Crossing is the operation of cross-pollinating. Cross-pollination is the transfer of the pollen of one flower to the pistil of another.

Cross-fertilization. Fertilization or fecundation secured by pollen from another flower.

Cross-pollination. Transfer of pollen from flower to flower.

Crown. Corona; also that part of the stem at the surface of the ground; also a part of a rhizome with a large bud, suitable for use in propagation.

Cruciate. Cross-shaped or cross-like.

Crustaceous. Said of bodies or coverings that are hard and brittle.

Cryptogam. Flowerless plant, as fern, moss, fungus, seaweed; less used than formerly as a technical term.

Cryptos. In Greek compounds, signifying concealed.

Culm. The stem of sedges and grasses, and similar plants.

Cuneate. Wedge-shaped; triangular, with the narrow end at point of attachment, as of leaves or petals.

Cupular. Cup-like or cup-shaped; the acorn nut sits in a cupule or little cup (whence the name Cupuliferae).

Cuticle. The external rind or skin of a plant or part; usually applied to the thin waterproof membrane overlying the epidermis.

Cutting. A severed vegetative or asexual part of a plant used in propagation; as a cutting of root, of stem, or of leaf.

Cyathiform. Cup-shaped.

Cymbiform. Boat-shaped.

Cyme. A broad, more or less flat-topped determinate flower-cluster.

Cymose inflorescence. With central flowers opening first.

Cypsela. An old term for the fruit of composites, being dry, one-celled and one-seeded.


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Deciduous. Falling, as the leaves of non-evergreen trees. ie. Plants that lose their leaves during winter.

Decompound. More than once compound.

Decumbent. Reclining or lying on the ground, but with the end ascending.

Decurrent. Running down the stem, as the leaf of mullein.

Decussate. Opposite leaves in four rows up and down the stem; alternating in pairs at right angles.

Definite. Said of a constant or known number, not exceeding twenty; contrasted with indefinite, above twenty, when the parts are usually not counted in systematic descriptions.

Deflexed. Turned downward abruptly.

Defoliation. The casting or falling of the leaves.

Dehiscence. The method or process of opening of a seed- pod or anther.

Deliquescent. Trunk or leader lost in the branches; said of tree-top without a leader.

Deltoid. Triangular; delta-like.

Dendroid. Said of tree-shaped small plants.

Dendron. In Greek compounds, signifying a tree.

Dentate. With sharp spreading teeth.

Depauperate. Applied to a plant or part that is less perfectly developed than usual or normal; also said of very small members of a genus or family.

Depressed. More or less flattened endwise or from above.

Descending. The direction gradually downwards.

Determinate. Definite cessation of growth at the apex or in the main axis.

Di-. Dis,-. In Greek combinations, signifying two or twice as diphyllus, two-leaved.

Diadelphous. In two groups, as the stamens of some Leguminosae, joined by their filaments.

Diandrous. With two stamens.

Diaphanous. Transparent or translucent.

Dicarpellous. Comprised of two carpels.

Dichlamydeous. Provided with both calyx and corolla.

Dichogamy. Stamens and pistils maturing at different times.

Diclinous. Imperfect; having either stamens or pistils but not both; unisexual. See Monoclinous.

Dicoccous. Separating into two cocci.

Dicotyledonous. With two cotyledons.

Didynamous. With four stamens in two pairs of different length.

Diffuse. Loosely branching or spreading; of open growth.

Digitate. Hand-like; compound with the members arising from one point.

Dimerous. The parts in twos.

Dioecious. Staminate and pistillate flowers on different plants. .

Dipterous. Two-winged.

Dipyrenous. Having two stones or pyrenes.

Disciform. Flattish and circular like a discus.

Discoid. Disk-like; in particular, said of a head of Compositae without ray-flowers.

Disk, disc. A more or less fleshy or elevated development of the receptacle about the pistil; receptacle in the head of Compositae.

Disk-flowers. The tubular flowers in the center of heads of Compositae, as distinguished from the ray-flowers.

Dissected. Divided into many slender segments.

Dissepiment. A partition, particularly in an ovary or fruit.

Distinct. Separate; not united with parts in the same series.

Divided. Separated to the base.

Division. Propagation by means of separating the root system or rhizome system into parts; cutting up the plant into several root-bearing parts or pieces, as when one rhubarb plant is made into two or more.

Dorsal. Back; relating to the back or outer surface of a part or organ.

Dorsiferous. Bearing anything on the back.

Dorsifixed. Attached by the back.

Dorsoventral. Literally, back-front; placed with reference to the back or front or to both.

Double. Said of flowers that have more than the usual number of floral envelopes, particularly of petals; full.

Downy. Covered with very short and weak soft hairs.

Drupe. A fleshy one-seeded indehiscent fruit, with seed enclosed in a stony endocarp; stone-fruit.

Drupelet. One drupe in a fruit made up of aggregate drupes, as in the raspberry.

Dumose. Low and branching, as a bush.


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E- or Ex-. In Latin-formed words, usually denoting, as a prefix, that parts are missing, as exstipulate, without stipules, estriate, without stripes.

Ecalcarate. Without calcar or spur.

Ecology. Study of habits and modes of life of animals and plants and their relationships to one another.

Ecostate. Without ribs.

Edentate. Without teeth.

Effuse. Loosely spreading; very diffuse.

Eglandulose. Without glands.

Elliptic. A flat part or body that is oval and narrowed to rounded ends.

Elongate. Lengthened; stretched out.

Embryo. The plantlet in the seed.

Endocarp. The inner layer or part of a pericarp.

Endogen. Term applied to stems having scattered bundles, as of Indian corn, not appropriate, and now little used. See Exogen.

Endosperm. Starch or other food outside or around the embryo; albumen.

Ensiform, ensate. Sword-shaped; long, flat, 2-edged, nearly or quite straight, with a sharp point.

Entire. Margin not in any way indented; whole.

Environment. Surroundings; conditions in which organisms live and grow.

Ephemeral. Persisting for one day only, as flowers of spiderwort.

Epi. A Greek prefix signifying on or upon.

Epicarp. The outer layer or surface of the pericarp.

Epichile. The upper part of the jointed lip of an orchid.

Epicotyl. That part of the caulicle lying above the cotyledons.

Epidermis. Superficial layer of cells and underneath the cuticle.

Epigeal. Cotyledons rising into the air in germination.

Epigeous. Close upon the ground rather than underneath.

Epigynous. Borne on the ovary; used of floral parts when ovary is inferior and flower not perigynous.

Epipetalous. On a petal.

Epiphyllous. On a leaf.

Epiphyte, Air-plant; a plant growing on another or on some other elevated support.

Equitant. Sitting astride; used for conduplicate leaves that stand inside each other in two ranks, as in Iris.

Erostrate. Without a beak.

Essential organs. Stamens and pistils.

Evergreen. Remaining green throughout the year.

Exalbuminous. Seeds without albumen or endosperm.

Excentric. Out of or away from the center.

Excurrent. The trunk or leader continuing through the top.

Exfoliating. Coming off in thin layers, as the bark of birch and other plants.

Exocarp. The outside part of a pericarp.

Exogen, exogenous. Growing and increasing in diameter by layers on the exterior of the woody cylinder, in distinction from endogens.

Exserted. Sticking out; projecting beyond, as stamens from a perianth.

Exsiccated. Dry or dried.

Exstipulate. Without stipules.

Extrorse. Looking or facing outward.

Eye. The marked center of a flower; a bud on a tuber, as on a potato; a single-bud cutting.


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Facies. The general appearance or "looks" of a plant; or the characteristic appearance of a plant society.

Farinaceous. Containing starch, or starch-like materials.

Fasciated. Much flattened; an abnormal or teratological widening and flattening of the stem.

Fascicle. A condensed or close cluster, as of flowers.

Feminine. Pistillate (in higher plants).

Fertile. Said of pollen-bearing stamens and seed-bearing fruits.

Fertilization. Impregnation of the ovule; the act of union of sperm and egg cells, in the higher plants taking place within the ovule: fecundation.

Fetid. Having a disagreeable odor.

Fibrillose. With fine fibers or threads.

Fibrous. Fiber-like; containing fibers or thread-like parts.

Fibro-vascular. Made up of both fibers and ducts; combination of fibrous and vascular structure.

Filament. Stalk of the anther.

Filiform., Thread-like; long and very slender.

Fimbriate. Fringed.

Fimbrillate. Minutely fringed.

Fistular. Cylindrical and hollow.

Flaccid. Soft; lax and weak; not rigid.

Flagelliform. Whip-form; long and slender like a lash.

Flagging. Wilting; said particularly of newly made cuttings and recently transplanted plants.

Flexuous. Having a more or less zigzag or wavy form; said of stems of various kinds.

Floccose. With tufts or flocks of soft wool or woolly hair.

Flora. The plant population of a given region; also a book describing this population.

Florets. Individual flowers of composites and grasses; also other very small flowers that make up a very dense form of inflorescence.

Floriferous. Flower-bearing.

Foliaceous. Leaf-like; said particularly of sepals and calyx-lobes and of bracts that in texture, size or color look like small or large leaves.

-foliate. In combinations, -leaved; having leaves; as trifoliate, three-leaved.

-foliolate. Having leaflets; as trifoliolate, of three leaflets.

Follicle. Dry, dehiscent pericarp opening only on the front suture.

Follicular. With follicles; follicle-like.

Foramen. An aperture or opening.

Forked. Branching or divided into nearly equal parts or members.

Fornicate. Arched.

Free. Not joined to other organs; as petals free from the stamens or calyx.

Frond. Leaf of fern; sometimes used in the sense of foliage.

Frosted. With a more or less shining or crystallized white covering.

Fructification. The act or process of fruiting; also the fruiting organ or organs.

Fruit. The ripened pericarp or pericarps with the adnate parts; the seed-bearing organ.

Fruticose. Shrubby or shrub-like in the sense of being woody.

Fugacious. Falling or withering away very early.

Fumose. Smoke-colored.

Function. What a plant or a part does; its vital activities.

Funicle. The stalk or stipe of an ovule or seed.

Funnelform. With tube gradually widening upward and passing insensibly into the limb, as in many flowers of Convolvulus; infundibuliform.

Furrowed. With longitudinal channels or grooves.

Fusiform. Spindle-shaped; narrowed both ways from a swollen middle, as dahlia roots.


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Galea. A hood or a helmet-shaped part or structure, as found in the upper lip of some corollas.

Gamete. One of the sex-cells, either male or female.

Gamopetalous. Corolla of one piece; petals united.

Gamophyllous. Leaves united.

Gamosepalous. Calyx of one piece; sepals united.

Geminate. In pairs; twin.

Gemma. A bud; particularly a bud or bud-like structure by which a plant propagates.

Gemmiparous. Bud-bearing.

Gemmule. A little bud or bud-like structure.

Generation. Period from birth (impregnation) to death; the epoch from one 1-celled stage of a plant to the next 1-celled stage.

Germination. The unfolding of the embryo and becoming self-established of the plantlet.

Gibbosity. A swelling or bulging on one side or near the base.

Glabrate. Nearly glabrous, or becoming glabrous with maturity or age.

Glabrous. Not hairy.

Gladiate. Sword-shaped or sword-like.

Gland. Properly a secreting part or prominence or appendage, but often used in the sense of gland-like.

Glandular. Having or bearing secreting organs, or glands.

Glandulose, glanduliferous. Gland-bearing.

Glaucous. Covered with a "bloom" or a whitish substance that rubs off.

Glochidiate. Said of parts with summit barbed.

Glomerate. In dense or compact cluster or clusters.

Glomerule. Dense head-like clusters; properly a dense cyme.

Glume. A small chaff-like bract; in particular, one of the two empty bracts at the base of the grass spikelet.

Graft. A branch or bud inserted on another plant with the intention that it shall grow there; cion.

Grafting. The process of inserting a cion [also spelled [scion]]in a plant with the intention that it shall grow there. See Budding.

Granular, granulose. Covered with very small grains; minutely or finely mealy.

Gymnos. In Greek compounds, signifying naked or not covered: as gymnosperms, with naked seeds (not in a pericarp). See Angiosperm.

Gynandrous. With the stamens grown on the pistil, forming one organ, as in the orchids.

Gynobase. Stipe or stalk of an ovary, being an extension or prolongation of the receptacle; short gynophore.

Gynaecium. The female or pistil-bearing part of the flower. See Andraecium.

Gynophore. Stipe of an ovary prolonged within the calyx.


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Habit. The looks, appearance, general style or mode of growth; as an upright, open, decumbent or strict habit.

Habitat. Particular place in which a plant grows; as a swamp, roadside, lawn, woods, ballast-heap, hillside.

Hairs. A general name for many kinds of small and slender outgrowths on the parts of plants; special kinds of hairiness are designated as setose, villous, comose, pubescent, hirsute, and others.

Halberd-shaped. Hastate.

Hamate. Hooked.

Hastate. Of the shape of an arrow-head but the basal lobes pointed or narrow and standing nearly or quite at right angles; halberd-shaped.

Haulm. Straw-like stems, as of the cereal grains; sometimes also applied to the stems of palms; usually a collective noun.

Head. A short dense spike; capitulum.

Heart-shaped. Cordate; ovate in general outline but with two rounded basal lobes; has reference particularly to the shape of the base of a leaf or other expanded part.

Heel. An enlarged or more or less transverse part on the lower end of a cutting secured from the older or larger branch from which the cutting is taken.

Helicoid. Twisted or coiled in snail-shell form.

Heliotropism. The characteristic of turning toward the light.

Hemi- In Greek compounds, signifying half.

Hepta- In Greek compounds, signifying seven.

Herb. Naturally dying to the ground; without persistent stem above ground; lacking definite woody firm structure.

Herbaceous. Not woody; dying down each year; said also of soft branches before they become woody.

Hermaphrodite. Bearing both stamens and pistil in the same flower; two-sexed; bisexual.

Hesperidium. The fruit of the orange-kind.

Hetcrocarpous. Various-fruited; with more than one kind or form of fruit.

Heterogamous. With two or more kinds or forms of flowers.

Heteros. In Greek composition, signifying various, or of more than one kind or form; as heterophyllous, with more than one kind or form of leaf.

Hilum. In the seed, the scar or mark indicating the point of attachment.

Hip. Fruit of the rose, being an urn-like or closed receptacle bearing the achenes inside. See Hypanthium.

Hirsute. With rather rough or coarse hairs.

Hirtellous. Softly or minutely hirsute or hairy.

Hispid. Provided with stiff or bristly hairs.

Hispidulous. Somewhat or minutely hispid.

Hoary. Covered with a close white or whitish pubescence.

Homo- In Greek compounds, signifying alike or very similar.

Homocarpous. All the fruits, as of a flower-head, alike.

Homogamous. Presenting only one kind of flowers.

Homologous. Related in origin or morphology. See Analogous.

Homomorphous. Uniform; all the given parts alike.

Horny. Hard and dense in texture; corneous.

Hybrid. A plant resulting from a cross between two or more parents that are more or less unlike.

Hygroscopic. Capable of absorbing moisture from atmosphere.

Hypanthium. A fruit-like body (as the rose-hip) formed by the enlargement of the torus and bearing the proper fruits on its upper or inner surface; literally "beneath the flower." Now commonly used to denote the cup-shaped receptacle on which calyx, petals and stamens are inserted in cases of perigyny, as in plum, fuchsia.

Hypochil. The lower or basal part of the lip in orchids.

Hypocotyl. That part of the caulicle lying below the cotyledons.

Hypocrateriform. Salver-form; that shape of the flower characterized by a cylindrical tube and a flat-spreading limb, as in phlox.

Hypogeal. Cotyledons remaining beneath the ground in germination.

Hypogynous. Borne on the torus, or under the ovary; said of the stamens or petals.


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Immarginate. Without a rim or edge.

Immersed. Entirely under water.

Imparipinnate. Unequally pinnate; odd-pinnate; with a single terminal leaflet.

Imperfect flower. Having either stamens or pistils, but not both.

Implexed, implexuous. Entangled, interlaced.

Impregnation. Fecundation or fertilization of the ovule by the pollen; also, the infiltration of substances.

Impressed. Deeply nerved; furrowed or grooved as if by pressure.

Inarching. The grafting together of two plants with the intention that, when they are severed, part of one plant will be growing on the other.

Incanescent. Hoary- or gray-pubescent; canescent.

Incised. Cut; slashed irregularly, more or less deeply and sharply.

Inclining. Looking or falling down from the horizontal.

Included. Not protruded, as stamens not projecting from the corolla.

Incomplete. Lacking some of its parts, as a flower deficient in stamens or calyx.

Incrustate. Crusted; with a hard or firm covering.

Incumbent (cotyledons). Of a seed so bent over that the back of one cotyledon lies against the radicle.

Indefinite. Very numerous, as above twenty; see Definite.

Indehiscent. Not regularly opening, as a seed-pod or anther.

Indeterminate. Growing on from the apex, particularly of the main axis.

Indigenous. Native to the region; not introduced from some other country.

Indumentum. A covering of hair.

Induplicate. With margins folded inward.

Indurated. Hard, hardened.

Indusium. The little growth covering or surrounding the sorus or fruit-dot in ferns.

Inferior. Beneath, lower, below; as an inferior ovary, one that is below the calyx-leaves.

Inflated. Blown up; bladdery.

Inflorescence. Mode of flower-bearing; technically less correct but much more common in the sense of a flower-cluster.

Infra- In combinations, signifying below.

Infundibuliform. Funnelform.

Innate. Said of an anther when attached by its base to the filament.

Innovation. An offshoot or departure from the axis.

Inserted. Attached; as a stamen growing on the corolla.

Inter-. In composition, signifying between, particularly between closely related parts or organs.

Interfoliaceous. Between the leaves, particularly between two leaves of a pair.

Internode. The part or space of stem between two nodes or joints.

Interrupted. Not continuous; in particular, the interposition of small leaflets or segments between others.

Intorted. Twisted upon or around itself.

Intramarginal. Just within the margin or edge; between the margins.

Introduced. Brought from another region, either intentionally or otherwise; in horticulture, used to designate the intentional bringing of plants into cultivation either from another country or from the wild.

Introrse. Turned or faced inward or toward the axis, as an anther looking toward the center of the flower.

Inverted. Turned over; end-for-end; top-side down.

Involucel. A secondary involucre; small involucre about the parts of a cluster.

Involucre. A whorl of small leaves or bracts standing close underneath a flower or flower-cluster.

Involute. Said of a flat body (as a leaf) rolled inward or toward the upper side. See Revolute.

Irregular flower. Some parts different from other parts in same series.


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Jointed. With nodes, or points of real or apparent articulation.


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Keeled. Ridged like the bottom of a boat; also the two front united petals of a papilionaceous flower.

Knaur. An excrescence, bur or knot of woody tissue that will grow when removed and used as a cutting.


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Labellum. Lip, particularly the lip of orchids.

Labiate. Lipped; a member of the Labiatae.

Labyrinthiform. With intricate winding lines or passages.

Lacerate. Torn; irregularly cleft or cut.

Laciniate. Slashed into narrow pointed lobes.

Lactescent. Containing milk or a milk-like substance.

Lacunose. Having holes or empty places, particularly in the anatomical structure.

Lamella. A thin flat plate or part.

Lamina. The blade of a leaf or petal or other expanded part or body.

Lanceolate. Lance-shaped; much longer than broad; widening above the base and tapering to the apex.

Lapidose. Found in stony places.

Lateral. On or at the side.

Layer. A branch that takes root and gives rise to an independent plant.

Leaflet. One part of a compound leaf; secondary leaf.

Leaf-stalk. The stem of a leaf; petiole; foot-stalk.

Legume. Simple pericarp dehiscing on both sutures; pod.

Lemma. In grasses, the flowering glume,—the lower of the two bracts immediately inclosing the flower.

Lenticular. Lentil-shaped; lens-shaped.

Lepals. Sterile stamens, particularly those nectaries or scales representing stamens; term little used.

Lepidote. Surfaced with small scurfy scales.

Liana, liane. A woody twining or climbing plant entangling a tropical forest.

Life-history. The sum of the events in the life of a plant.

Ligneous. Woody.

Ligule. A strap-shaped organ or body; particularly, a strap-shaped corolla, as in the ray-flowers of composites; also a projection from the top of the sheath in grasses and similar plants.

Limb. The expanded flat part of an organ; in particular, the expanding part of a gamopetalous corolla.

Limbate. Surrounded by an edging of another color; margined with color; also, provided with a limb.

Line. One-twelfth of an inch.

Linear. Long and narrow, the sides parallel or nearly so.

Lineate. Lined; bearing thin parallel lines.

Linguiform. Shaped like a lingula, or with a projecting tongue-like part or process.

Lip. One of the parts in an unequally divided corolla or calyx; these parts are usually two, the upper lip and the lower lip, although one lip is sometimes wanting; the upper lip of orchids is by a twist of the stipe made to appear as the lower; a labium.

Lobe. Any part or segment of an organ; specifically a part of petal or calyx or leaf that represents a division to about the middle.

Lobule. A small lobe.

Locule. Compartment or cell of a pistil or anther.

Loculicidal. Dehiscence between the partitions into the cavity.

Lodicule. A small scale in a grass flower, between the lemma and stamens.

Loment. A legume with constrictions or articulations.

Lorate. Strap-shaped.

Lyrate. Pinnatifid but with an enlarged terminal lobe and smaller lower lobes.


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Medullary. Relating to the pith; the medullary rays seen in cross-sections of woody trunks radiate from the medulla or pith.

Meniscoidal. Like a meniscus or disk; with the form of a watch-crystal.

Mericarp. The peculiar seed-like fruit of the Umbelliferae.

-merous. In composition, referring to the numbers of parts; as flowers 5-merous, in which the parts of each kind or series are five or in fives.

Mesocarp. Middle layer or part of a pericarp; the part between the endocarp and exocarp.

Mesochil. The intermediate or middle part of the lip of orchids when the lip is separated into three parts.

Micropyle. The opening through which impregnation takes place; the point on the seed marking the orifice of the ovule.

Midrib. The main rib of a leaf or leaf-like part.

Mitriform. Mitre-shaped, or like a cap.

Monadelphous. Stamens united in one group by their filaments as in many Leguminosae.

Moniliform. Suggesting a string of beads.

Mono-. In Greek compounds, signifying one.

Monoclinous. Hermaphrodite; perfect; the two sexes in the same flower. See Diclinous.

Monocotyledonous. With a single cotyledon.

Monoecious. Staminate and pistillate flowers on same plant.

Monogynous. With only one style.

Monopetalous. One-petaled; all the petals united to form one body or organ, as a gamopetalous corolla.

Monopodiol. Axial direction continued by growth from terminal bud or persistence of the leader.

Monostichous. In one row.

Monstrosity. Deformity; any unusual or non-typical kind of development.

Morphology. The science or subject that treats of forms or of the transformations of organs.

Mucose. With a slimy covering or secretion.

Mucro. A short and sharp abrupt tip.

Mule. An old word for a cross, particularly between different species; hybrid; cross-breed.

Multifid. Cut or cleft into many narrow lobes or parts.

Multiple. Of several or many distinct parts.

Multiple fruit. The united product (in one body) of several or many flowers.

Multiseptate. With many divisions or chambers, as some nuts.

Muscariform. In form of a brush or fly-brush.

Mycelium. Vegetative part of a fungus, composed of threads or thready tissue.


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Naked flower. With no floral envelopes; without calyx and corolla.

Napiform. Turnip-shaped; more or less short-fusiform; broader than high and abruptly tapering both ways.

Navicular. Boat-shaped; cymbiform.

Nectariferous. Nectar-bearing.

Nectary. A structure or organ that secretes nectar.

Nephroid. Kidney-shaped; reniform.

Nerve. A vein or slender rib, particularly if not branched.

Netted. Marked with reticulated lines or nerves that project somewhat above the surface.

Neuter, neutral. Neither stamens nor pistils; sexless.

Nidulate. Nested; as if like or borne in a nidus or nest.

Node. A joint where a leaf is borne or may be borne; also incorrectly the space between two joints, which is properly an internode.

Nucleus. The kernel of a seed; the central denser structure of a cell.

Nucule. A small nutlet; any hard seed-like fruit or part.

Nut. An indehiscent 1-celled and 1-seeded hard and bony fruit, even if resulting from a compound ovary.

Nutlet. A small or diminutive nut; nucule.


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Ob-. A Latin syllable, usually signifying inversion.

Obconical. Inversely conical; cone attached at the small point.

Oblanceolate. Inversely lanceolate; with the broadest part of a lanceolate body away from the point of attachment.

Oblique. Slanting; unequal-sided.

Oblong. Longer than broad, and with the sides nearly or quite parallel most of their length.

Obovate. Inverted ovate.

Obovoid. An ovoid body attached at the smaller end.

Obsolescent. Nearly obsolete; becoming rudimentary.

Obsolete. Not evident or apparent; rudimentary.

Obtuse. Blunt, rounded.

Ocellated. Eyed; a circular spot of one color inside a larger spot or area of another color.

Ochraceous. Ochre-yellow, gradually changing to brown.

Ocrea. A boot-shaped or tubular stipule, as in Polygonum.

Oculus. An eye; a leaf-bud when used as a cutting.

Offset. A plant arising close to the base of mother plant.

Oleaginous. Fleshy and oily.

Oligos. In Greek compounds, signifying few.

Opaque. Dull; not translucent or shining.

Operculum. A lid, as of a circumscissile capsule.

Orthos. In Greek compounds, signifying straight.

Orthotropous (ovule or seed). An erect straight seed, with the micropyle at the apex and hilum at the base.

Osseous. Bony, hard, brittle; of very close texture.

Ovary. Ovule-bearing part of a pistil.

Ovate. With an outline like that of hen's egg cut in two lengthwise, the broader end downward.

Ovoid. A solid that is oval in outline.

Ovule. The body which, after fertilization, becomes the seed.

Ovuliferous. Ovule-bearing.


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Painted. Said of colors that are in streaks of unequal brilliancy.

Palate. In personate corollas, a rounded projection or prominence of the lower lip, closing the throat or very nearly so.

Palea, palet. In the grass flower, the upper of the two inclosing bracts, the lower one being the lemma.

Palmate. Lobed or divided in a palm-like or hand-like fashion.

Palmatifid. Cut about half way down in a palmate form.

Panicle. A branching raceme; flower-cluster in which the branches are racemose, the flowers being pedicellate.

Papilionaceous corolla. Butterfly-like; pea-like flower, with a standard, wings, and keel.

Pappiform. Pappus-like.

Pappus. Peculiar calyx-limb of composites, being plumose, bristle-like, scales, or otherwise.

Parasitic. Growing and living on or in another organism.

Parietal. Borne on the paries or wall (inner surface) of a capsule.

Parted. Cleft or cut not quite to the base.

Parthenogenetic. Seed developing without fertilization or fecundation.

Partial. Of secondary importance or rank.

Partite. Divided very nearly to the base.

Partitioned. Divided in compartments or chambers by internal horizontal partitions.

Pathological. Diseased.

Pedicel. Stem of one flower in a cluster.

Peduncle. Stem of a flower-cluster or of a solitary flower.

Pellucid. Clear, transparent; that can nearly be seen through.

Peltate. Attached to its stalk inside the margin; peltate leaves are usually shield-shaped.

Penninerved. Nerves arising along the length of a central midrib.

Pentamerous. In fives.

Pepo. Fruit of pumpkin, squash, and the like.

Perennial. Of three or more season cycles' duration.

Perfect flower. One that has both stamens and pistil.

Perfoliate. The stem apparently passing through the part, as a leaf; united around the stem.

Pergameneous, pergamentaceous. Texture of parchment.

Peri-. In Greek compounds, signifying around.

Perianth. The floral envelope considered together; commonly used for flowers in which there is usually no clear distinction between calyx and corolla, as the lilies.

Pericarp. The ripened ovary.

Perigynium. The sac or utricle that incloses the ovary or achene in Carex; it is sometimes inflated.

Perigynous. Borne around the ovary and not beneath it, as when calyx, corolla and stamens are borne on the edge of a cup-shaped hypanthium; such cases are said to exhibit perigyny.

Persistent. Remaining attached; not falling off.

Personate. Said of a two-lipped corolla the throat of which is closed by a palate, as in toad-flax.

Petal. One of the separate leaves of a corolla.

Petaloid. Petal-like; of color and shape resembling a petal.

Petiole. Leaf-stalk.

Petiolule. Stalk of a leaflet.

Phalanges (plural of phalanx). The groups or bundles of stamens in diadelphous or polyadelphous flowers.

Phenogam, phenogamous. Flowering plants; seed-bearing plants (as distinguished from spore-bearing, or cryptogams).

Phyllodium. Leaf-like petiole and no blade, as in some acacias and other plants.

Phyllotaxy. Order of arrangement of leaves on the stem.

Phytology. The study of plants, particularly of the kinds or species; botany.

Pileate, pileiform. With the form of a pileus or rimless cap; in particular, pertaining to the cap of a mushroom.

Pinna. A primary division or leaflet of a pinnate leaf.

Pinnate. Feather-formed; with the leaflets of a compound leaf placed on either side of the rachis.

Pinnatifid. Cleft or parted in a pinnate (rather than palmate) way.

Pinnatipartite. Pinnately-parted.

Pinnatisect. Cut down to the midrib in a pinnate way.

Pinnule. A secondary pinna or leaflet in a pinnately decompound leaf.

Pip. A perpendicular or upright small rootstock used in propagation, as of lily-of-the-valley.

Pisiform. Pea-shaped; pea-like.

Pistil. The ovule-bearing and seed-bearing organ.

Pistillate. Having pistils and no stamens; female.

Pitted. Having little depressions or cavities.

Placenta. Part or place in the ovary where ovules are attached.

Plaited. Folded lengthwise, as a closed fan.

Plane. Evenly flat, rather than wrinkled, folded, grooved or otherwise.

Platys. In Greek combinations, signifying broad or wide.

Plumose. Plumy; feather-like; with fine hairs, as the pappus of some composites.

Plumule. The bud in the embryo.

Plur-annual. Of one season's duration only because killed by frost.

Pod. A dehiscent dry pericarp.

Pollen. Spores or grains borne by the anther, containing the male element; sometimes it is not granular.

Pollination. The mechanical or physical operation of transferring pollen from stamen to pistil.

Polliniferous. Bearing-pollen.

Pollinium. A coherent mass of pollen, as in orchids and milkweeds.

Poly-. In Greek combinations, signifying numerous or many.

Polyadelphous. The stamens in many bundles or fascicles.

Polygamous. Bearing imperfect and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant.

Polymerous. Of many parts or series.

Pome. Fruit of apple, pear, quince, etc.

Porose. With small holes, pores or perforations.

Posterior. At or toward the back; opposite the front; toward the axis; away from the subtending bract.

Praefoliation. Arrangement of leaves in the bud; vernation.

Praemorse. Jagged; as if bitten off.

Prickle. A small and weak spine-like body borne irregularly on the bark or epidermis.

Prismatic. Prism-shaped; with plane sides separated by angles, body of nearly uniform size throughout, and with similar end-sections.

Process. An extension of any surface or part beyond the main outline.

Procumbent. Trailing or lying flat, but not rooting.

Proliferous. Bearing offshoots or redundant parts; bearing other similar structures on itself.

Proterandrous. Anthers maturing before pistils.

Proterogynous. Pistils maturing before anthers.

Pseud-annual. Perennial by means of bulbs, corms, or tubers.

Pseudo-. In Greek compounds, signifying spurious or false.

Pseudobulb. The thickened or bulb-form stems of certain orchids, the part being solid and borne above ground.

Puberulent. Somewhat or minutely pubescent.

Pubescent. Covered with short, soft hairs; downy.

Pulverulent. Powdered or dusty.

Pulvinate. Cushioned; with a cushion-like enlargement or structure, as at the base of some petioles or leaflets.

Punctate. With translucent or colored dots or depressions or pits.

Pungent. Ending in a stiff sharp point or tip; also acrid (to the taste).

Putamen. The hard or bony shell of a nut or of a stone-fruit.

Pyrene, pyrena. Nutlet, particularly the nutlet in a drupe.

Pyriform. Pear-formed or -shaped.

Pyxis. Pod opening or dehiscing by a transverse ring.


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Quadrangular. Four-angled.

Quaternate. In fours.

Quincunx. Five plants in a square, one of them being in the center.

Quintupled. Five times; multiplied by five.


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Raceme. A simple elongated indeterminate cluster with stalked flowers.

Rachilla, rhachilla. A diminutive or secondary axis, or rachis; in particular, in the grasses and sedges the axis that bears the florets.

Rachis. Axis bearing flowers or leaflets; petiole of a fern frond (plural rachides or rachises).

Radiate. Standing on and spreading from a common center; also, with ray-flowers, as in the Compositae.

Radical. Belonging or pertaining to the root.

Radicle. The inferior or downward part of the embryo below the cotyledons; caudicle.

Radix. Root.

Rameal. Pertaining to a branch or branches.

Ramenia. Chaffy loose scales borne on leaves and stems, as on the stems of ferns.

Ramification. The mode or style of branching of a plant.

Raphe, rhaphe. The cord or ridge of fibro-vascular tissue connecting the hilum and chaluza on a seed (when the hilum and chalaza are separated).

Ray. Outer modified florets of some composites, with an extended or strap-like part to the corolla; also the branches of an umbel or umbel-like cluster.

Receptacle. Torus; the more or less enlarged or elongated end of the stem or flower-axis on which some or all of the flower-parts are borne; sometimes the receptacle is greatly expanded, as in the CompositAe; sometimes it assumes capsule-like forms, as in the hypanthium of the rose.

Reclinate, reclining. Bent down or falling back from the perpendicular.

Recondite. Concealed; difficult to make out; not easily recognized.

Recurved. Bent or curved downward or backward.

Reflexed. Abruptly recurved or bent downward or backward.

Regular flower. With the parts in each series or set alike; as stamens all like each other, petals all like each other.

Reinforced fruit. With other parts grown to the pericarp.

Remote. Separated by spaces longer than common.

Reniform. Kidney-shaped.

Repent. Creeping; rooting at the joints.

Resupinate. Upside down; turned over.

Retrorse. Bent or turned over back or downward.

Revolute. Rolled backward, margin rolled toward lower side. See Involute.

Rhachis. See Rachis.

Rhaphe. See Raphe.

Rhizome. Underground stem; rootstock.

Rhizos. In Greek compounds, signifying root.

Rib. In a leaf or similar organ, the primary vein; also any prominent vein or nerve.

Rimose. With cracks or chinks.

Ringent. Gaping; said of labiate flowers with an open throat or mouth.

Rootstock. Subterranean stem; rhizome.

Rostellum. A little beak; particularly a projection above the stigma in the orchid flower.

Rosula. A rosette, or dense more or less flat imbricated cluster of leaves.

Rosulate. In a rosula or rosette.

Rotate. Wheel-shaped; with short or obsolete tube and a flat and circular limb.

Rotund. Nearly circular; orbicular, inclining to be oblong.

Rudimentary. Incomplete; very little developed.

Ruminated. Chewed; particularly applied to wrinkled albumen in seeds that are irregularly channeled or pierced, as in nutmeg and in annona fruits.

Runcinate. Said of sharply lobed or cut leaves that have the segments directed backward.

Runner. A slender trailing shoot taking root at the nodes.


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Sabulose. Growing in or pertaining to sandy places.

Saggitate. Like an arrowhead in form; triangular with the basal lobes pointing downward.

Salver-shaped. With a slender tube and an abruptly expanded flat limb, as that of the phlox; hypocrateriform.

Samara. Indehiscent winged pericarp, as of the maple.

Sap. The watery contents of a plant; an indefinite and undescriptive term little used by botanists.

Sapid. With a pleasant or savory taste.

Scabrous. Rough; feeling roughish or gritty to the touch.

Scale. A name given to many kinds of small mostly dry and appressed leaves or bracts; a vestige.

Scape. Leafless peduncle arising from the ground; it may bear scales or bracts but no foliage-leaves, and may be one- or many-flowered.

Scarious. Leaf-like parts or bracts that are not green, but thin, dry, and membranaceous, often more or less translucent.

Scion. See Cion.

Scleroid. Of a hard texture.

Scorpioid. Said of a cluster in which the flowers are 2-ranked and borne alternately at the right and the left.

Seed. The ripened ovule; the essential part is the embryo, and this is contained within integuments.

Seedling. A young plant raised from seed; a plant direct from seed without the intervention of grafting of any kind.

Segment. One of the parts of a leaf, petal, calyx or perianth that is divided but not truly compound.

Self-fertilization. Secured by pollen from same flower; close-fertilization.

Self-pollination. Transfer of pollen from stamen to pistil of same flower; close-pollination.

Sepal. One of the separate leaves of a calyx.

Separation. Multiplication of plants by means of naturally detachable asexual bodies or organs, as offsets, stolons.

Septate. Partitioned; divided by partitions.

Septicidal. Dehiscence along or in the partitions, not directly into the locule.

Septum. A partition.

Sessile. Not stalked; sitting.

Set. Applied loosely to vegetative parts used in propagation, as to offsets, layers, root-cuttings.

Seta. A bristle.

Setiform. Bristle-shaped.

Sheath. Any long or more or less tubular structure surrounding an organ or part.

Shoot. A new plant from the root of the old plant; also any growing twig or axis.

Shrub. A woody plant that remains low and produces shoots or trunks from the base.

Silicle. The short fruit of certain Cruciferae.

Silique. The long fruit of certain Cruciferae.

Silky. A condition produced by a covering of soft appressed fine hairs; sericeus.

Silvery. With a whitish metallic more or less shining luster.

Simple pistil. Of one carpel.

Sinus. The space or recess between two lobes of a leaf or other expanded organ.

Slip. A softwood cutting "slipped" off or pulled off; applied also to similar parts cut off.

Smooth. Said of surfaces that have no hairiness, roughness or pubescence, particularly of those not rough.

Solitary. Borne singly or alone.

Sorus. A heap or cluster. The fruit-dots or -cluster of ferns (plural sori.)

Spadix. A thick or fleshy spike of certain plants, as the Araceae, surrounded or subtended by a spathe.

Span. Nine inches; distance from tip of thumb to tip of little finger when the hand is spread out.

Spathe. The bract or leaf surrounding or subtending a flower-cluster or a spadix; it is sometimes colored and flower-like, as in the calla.

Spawn. The dried mycelium of mushrooms used in propagation.

Spheroidal. A solid that is nearly spherical.

Spiciform. Spike-form.

Spiculate. With a small, fleshy and erect point.

Spike. Compact, more or less simple indeterminate, mostly elongated cluster, with flowers sessile or nearly so.

Spikelet. A secondary spike; one part of a compound spike; particularly, one of the ultimate clusters in grosses.

Spine. A strong and sharp-pointed woody body mostly arising from the wood of the stem.

Spinescent. More or less spiny.

Spinule. A little or weak spine.

Spontaneous. Said of plants that have escaped from cultivation, but that do not permanently persist.

Sporangium. A spore-case; a sac or body bearing spores.

Spore. A simple reproductive body, usually composed of a single detached cell, and containing no embryo.

Sporocarp. A receptacle containing sporangia or spores.

Sporophyll. A spore-bearing leaf.

Spreading. Standing outward or horizontally.

Spur. A tubular or sac-like projection from a blossom, as of a petal or sepal; it usually secretes nectar.

Squama. A scale.

Squamella. Very small squama or scale.

Stachys. In Greek compounds, signifying a spike.

Stalk. The stem of any organ, as the petiole, peduncle, pedicel, filament, stipe.

Stamen. The pollen-bearing or "male" organ.

Staminate. Having stamens and no pistils; male.

Staminode, staminodium. A sterile stamen, or a structure resembling such and borne in the staminal part of the flower; in some flowers (as in Canna) staminodia are petal-like and showy.

Standard. The upper and broad more or less erect petal of a papilionaceous flower.

Stem. The main axis of a plant; leaf-bearing and flower- bearing as distinguished from the root-bearing axis.

Sterile flower. Without pistils.

Stigma. The part of the pistil that receives the pollen.

Stigmatic. Pertaining to the stigma.

Stipe. The stalk of a pistil or other small organ; also the petiole of a fern-leaf.

Stipel. Stipule of a leaflet.

Stipule. A basal appendage of a petiole; the three parts of a complete leaf are blade, petiole, stipules (usually 2).

Stock. The part on which the cion is grafted; the strain or parentage.

Stolon. A shoot that bends to the ground and takes root; more commonly, a horizontal stem at or below surface of the ground that gives rise to a new plant at its tip.

Stone. The "pit" or putamen of a stone fruit.

Stool. A clump of roots or rootstock that may be used in propagation; also an established low plant from which layers are taken.

Stratification. The operation or method of burying seeds to keep them fresh and to soften their integuments, or to expose them without injury to frost, that they may be more readily and successfully used in propagation.

Strict. Straight and upright, little if any branched, often rigid.

Strobile. Cone.

Strophiole. An appendage or protuberance at the hilum.

Style. More or less elongated part of the pistil between the ovary and stigma.

Stylopodium. Style-foot; an expansion at the base of a style, as in flowers of the Umbelliferae.

Sub-. As a prefix, usually signifying somewhat, slightly or rather.

Subacute. Somewhat or partially acute.

Subcoriaceous. Somewhat or approaching leathery in texture.

Subligneous. Partially or somewhat woody.

Subterete. Somewhat or imperfectly terete.

Succulent. Juicy; fleshy; soft and thickened in texture.

Sucker. A shoot arising from the roots or beneath the surface of the ground.

Suffrutescent. Partially or slightly shrubby.

Suffruticose. Pertaining to a low and somewhat woody plant; diminutively shrubby or fruticose; woody at base.

Sulcate. Grooved or furrowed lengthwise.

Superior. Said of an ovary that is free from the calyx.

Supernumerary. Said of buds when there is more than one in an axil.

Suspended. Hanging from the top, as an ovule attached in the top of the locule.

Suture. A line or mark of splitting open; a groove marking a natural division or union; the groove lengthwise a plum or similar fruit.

Symmetrical. Said of a flower that has the same number of parts in each series or circle, as five stamens, five petals.

Symphysis. Growing together; coalescence.

Sympodial. Axial growth continued by successive lateral shoots instead of by terminal bud.

Syncarpium. A fruit consisting of many cohering or consolidated carpels.

Syncarpous. Having carpels united. See Apocarpus.

Syngenesious. Anthers united in a ring, as in Compositae.


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Tapering. Gradually becoming smaller or diminishing in diameter or width toward one end.

Tap-root. A strong nearly or quite perpendicular main root that carries the plant axis straight into the ground, all the other roots being secondary to it, rather than branching equally or diversely at the crown.

Taxonomy. Classification of species.

Tendril. A rotating or twisting thread-like process or extension by which a plant grasps an object and clings to it for support; morphologically it may be stem or leaf.

Teratology. The subject of monstrosities, or of abnormal and aberrant forms and malformations.

Terete. Circular in transverse section; imperfectly cylindrical because the object may taper both ways.

Terminology. The subject dealing with names.

Ternate. In threes.

Testa. The outer seed-coat, particularly when bony, hard or brittle.

Tetradynamous. Six stamens, four being long and two short.

Tetragonal. Four-angled.

Thallus. A flat leaf-like organ; in some cryptogams, the entire cellular plant body without differentiation as to stem and foliage.

Throat. The opening or orifice into a gamopetalous corolla, or perianth; the place where the limb joins the tube.

Thyrse, thyrsus. Compact and more or less compound panicle; more correctly a panicle-like cluster with main axis indeterminate and other parts determinate.

Tip. The plant arising at the end of a stolon, as in the black raspberry.

Tomentose. With tomentum; densely woolly or pubescent; with matted soft wool-like hairiness.

Tomentulose. Somewhat or delicately tomentose.

Tortuous. Twisted; with irregular bending and twining.

Torus. Receptacle.

Tree. A woody plant that produces one main trunk and a more or less distinct and elevated head.

Tri-. Three or three times.

Tricarpous. Of three carpels or fruits.

Trichome. A hair, particularly one that is strong or stiff.

Tricostate. With three ribs.

Trifid. Separated about halfway down into three parts.

Trifoliate. Of three leaves.

Trifoliolate. Of three leaflets.

Trigonous. Three-angled.

Trimerous. In threes.

Trimorphous. In three forms; as three lengths of stamens.

Tripinnate. Three times pinnate.

Trisected. In three deeply cut parts.

Triternate. Three times three; the leaflets or segments of a twice ternate leaf again in three parts.

Truncate. Appearing as if cut off at the end; the end nearly or quite straight across.

Tuber. A short congested part; usually defined as subterranean (as of a rootstock), although this is not essential.

Tubercle. .A small tuber, or rounded protruding body.

Tuberiferous. Tuber-bearing.

Tuberous. With or resembling a tuber or tubers.

Tumid. Swollen.

Tunicated. Provided with concentric or enwrapping coats or layers, as bulb of onion.

Turgid. Swollen from fullness.


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Umbel. Corymbose or indeterminate cluster with branches or rays arising from a common point and about equal in length, resembling framework of umbrella; umbels are characteristic of the Umbellifera.

Umbellate. Umbelled; with umbels; pertaining to umbels.

Umbellet. Secondary umbel.

Umbellule. Umbellet.

Uni-. One.

Unisexual. Of one sex; staminate or pistillate only.

Utricle. A small bladder; a bladdery 1-seeded fruit.


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Valvate. Opening by valves or pertaining to valves; meeting by the edges without overlapping, as leaves or petals in the bud.

Valve. A separable part of a pod; the units or pieces into which a capsule splits or divides in dehiscing.

Vascular. With vessels or ducts, or relating to them.

Vein. A branch of the evident woody framework of a leaf or similar organ; secondary member of the fibro-vascular structure.

Veinlet. A small or slender vein; nerve.

Venation. Veining; arrangement or disposition of veins.

Ventral. Front; relating to the anterior or inner face or part of an organ; opposite the back or dorsal part.

Vernation. The disposition or arrangement of leaves in the bud.

Versatile. Hung or attached near the middle and usually moving freely, as an anther attached crosswise on the apex of filament and capable of turning.

Verticil. A whorl.

Vesicle. A little bladder or bladder-like cavity.

Vexillary. Pertaining to the vexillum, standard or banner of a papilionaceous flower.

Villous. Provided with long and soft, not matted, hairs; shaggy.

Vitta. An oil-tube, as in the fruits of Umbelliferae.

Vittate. With vittae; also striped lengthwise.

Volute. Rolled up.


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Watersprout. A strong rapid-growing adventitious shoot in a tree-top or bush or on a trunk.

Whorl. Three or more leaves or flowers at one node, in a circle.

Wing. A thin dry or membranous expansion or flat extension or appendage of an organ; also the lateral petal of a papilionaceous flower.

Woolly. Provided with long, soft and more or less matted hairs; like wool; lanate.

Wort. Old word for a plant or herb; now used only in combination, as mother-wort, spiderwort, liverwort.


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