Achene - a small, dry, indehiscent one-seeded fruit with a thin
wall. A sunflower seed is an Achene.
Acuminate - tapering gradually to a sharp point.
Acute - terminating in a sharp angle.
Adventitious - occurring
sporadically or in other than the usual locations.
Alternate - arranged singly, at intervals along a stem or
Anaerobic - lacking oxygen.
Anther - The anther is the pollen carrying tip of a
Annual - a plant which completes its life cycle in 1 year.
Apex - the distal tip of a leaf or upper most point of a
Plural - apexes or apices
Aril - a specialized covering that attaches a seed to the
ovule and often forms a partial or complete envelope around the seed,
many are brightly colored to attract birds or animals which then eat and
disperse the seed.
Auriculate - ear shaped
Axil - the angle formed between a leaf petiole and the
stem to it is attached to.
Axis - stem, usually referring to the main stem or stalk of a
plant or of an inflorescence.
Basal - arising from the base of a stem.
Bi-annual - a plant that completes two life cycles in 1 year.
Biennial - a plant that requires 2 years to
produce flowers & fruit, with only vegetative growth and root
development occurring during the first year.
Bipinnate - a pinnate leaf in which the leaflets are also divided
in a pinnate fashion.
Blade - the broad, flattened part of a plants leaf
which presents a larger surface area to sunlight for photosynthesis.
Botany - the scientific field concerned with the study of
Bract - leaf-like structure associated with a
flower, flower stalk or an inflorescence.
Bulb - a bulb is where a plant develops and stores the following seasons
growth. It contains the developing leaves, stem and flowers.
Bulbil - a small specilized bulb that forms in leaf axils or on an
inflorescence. Also referred to as offsets, bulbils fall from the parent
plant, producing new plants.
Buttress or Buttressed - protruding tissue at the base
of a tree which lends support and strength to the trunk.
Calyx - the sepals of a flower are collectively referred to as
Campanulate - bell shaped or cup shaped, often used to describe
the shape of a plants flower or fruit.
Catkin - a spike in which the flowers are unisexual, usually
hanging from a branch.
Cauline - belonging to, or growing from a stem.
Compound (leaf) - leaves that have two or more leaflets attached
to a single leaf stem. a fruit that is made up of many sections
Corm - a modified, thickened, underground stem used by the plant to
store food. A corm develops buds that produce new vegetative growth.
Corolla - all of a flowers petals referred to collectively is the
Crenate - having a margin with rounded or scalloped teeth.
Deciduous - trees and other plants that shed all of their leaves
every year at the end of the growing season.
Dehiscent - splitting open at maturity to release seeds.
Dentate - toothed. A leaf with a toothed margin.
Drupe - fleshy or succulent fruit with a hardened inner pit which
surrounds the seed or seeds.
Distal -furthest from the point of origin or attachment, as in
"the distal end of a leaf"
Ephemeral - 1. Lasting only for one day. 2. Lasting a
short time, not permanent. "Many Florida wetlands are ephemeral, being
flooded for varying lengths of time."
Endemic - a plant found growing only in a certain area
and nowhere else is said to be endemic to that area.
Entire - a leaf margin that is not divided, toothed or
Epiphyte - a plant that grows on another
plant, using it for structural support and not being parasitic. Many orchids are epiphytes,
growing only in the forest canopy.
Filament - the male part of a flower that holds the anther or
pollen producing sac on the tip of the stamen
Glabrous - Smooth, not pubescent.
Habit - characteristic growth pattern of a plant.
Habitat - the place where a population of organisms lives is its
Hastate - spearhead shaped leaf with pointed lobes at the base
Hemiphyte - a plant that begins life as an epiphyte but later
extends its roots down into the soil, such as the Strangler Fig.
Herb or Herbaceous - A herbaceous plant produces only fleshy
growth, with no woody stem or trunk.
Indehiscent - Term used to describe a fruit that does not split
open to release its seed.
Inflorescence - an arrangement of flowers on a stem or stalk. An
inflorescence in which the terminal bud continues to produce flowers is
referred to as being "indeterminate", when the terminal bud stops
growing and new, lateral flowers are produced from axillary buds on the
main axis, the inflorescence is said to be "determinate".
Internode - the part of a stem between two
Lamina - broad, flattened area of a plant or alga that serves to
increase the surface area available for photosynthesis. Most leaves consists
of a lamina (blade) and a petiole (stalk, stem).
Lanceolate - usually referring to leaf shape, several
times longer than wide with the base being the widest and tapering to a
point. Lance shaped.
Linear - long and narrow with parallel sides or edges.
Node - the place on a plants stem or trunk where leaves, twigs or
aerial roots emerge.
Opposite - arranged in pairs on a stem or twig, with one leaf on
each opposing side of the twig.
Orbicular - Leaf; Rounded and flat
Ovate - shaped like an egg with a rounded base, used to describe
fruit & leaf. Widest at the base and tapering to the tip.
Palmate , palmately - A compound leaf with all leaflets
originating from a common point, like fingers on a hand, or a simple
leaf with lobes originating from a common point.
Peduncle - The stalk of an inflorescence or a stalk bearing
Perennial - plants that persist for more than 2 years, herbaceous
perennials die back to the ground at the end of each growing season.
Woody perennials have above ground parts that persist year-round and
season to season.
Petiole - the stalk that attaches the leaf blade to the stem or
Pubescent - covered with short, fine hairs.
Rhizome - an underground horizontal stem which some plants use to
store food reserves and as a method of reproduction. Differs from a root
in that a rhizome has buds, nodes and scale-like leaves.
Pinnate - having parts arranged on each side of a common axis,
usually refers to the arrangement of the leaflets on a pinnately
Ruderal - growing in waste places: areas disturbed by humans or
Sepal - modified leaf like structures that make up the calyx
which encases developing flowers.
Serrate - describes a leaf margin as being toothed, with the
teeth facing toward the tip (apex) of the leaf.
Spatulate - Shaped like a spoon or spatula, being narrow at the
base and widest at the apex.
Spike - an un-branched, indeterminate inflorescence in which the
flowers are without stalks.
Stamen - the male part of a flower, consisting of a Filament and
Stolon - Sometimes referred to as runners, a specialized above ground
horizontal shoot, usually forming adventitious roots at the nodes.
Colony forming plants use stolons as a method of vegetative
reproduction, with water and nutrients flowing from the mother plant
until the offspring is self-sufficient.
or lines distinguished from the surrounding area by color, generally
used in reference to a flowers markings.
Syncarp - A fleshy compound fruit. Mulberry, Pineapple, and
Magnolia are examples of plants that produce this type of fruit.
Taxonomy - system used for the classification & identification
of living organisms, including plants.
Tuber - a thickened underground plant stem used to store nutrients.
Tubers also have buds and can produce shoots and roots, forming new plants.
Whorl - an arrangement of leaves, bracts or floral parts in a
ring around an axis.