E-FLORA BC GLOSSARY OF
Fragrant water-lily (Nymphaea odorata), photo by Bill Jex
Thanks to the Ministry of Sustainable Resource
Management for provision of the 8 volume Illustrated Flora of
British Columbia (Douglas, Meidinger and Pojar, 1998-2002) and
associated glossary of botanical terms. Please
refer to the BC Conservation Data Centre publications web page for the complete
citation for each volume. The glossary provided below is modified
from the above.
Abaxial -- On the side of a structure turned
away from the main axis.
Acerose -- With a needle-like tip, "needle-pointed".
Achene -- A dry, single-seeded fruit that does not open at maturity.
Acicular -- Shaped like the needle of a pine tree "needle-like".
Acorn -- The fruit of the oak (Quercus); composed of a nut and
its cup or cupule.
Acuminate -- Tapering to a narrow tip or concave point, the sides
generally concavely narrowing, "long-pointed".
Acuminate -- Tapering to a narrow tip or concave point, the sides
generally concavely narrowing.
Acute -- Gradually tapering to a point, the sides straight (i.e.,
Adaxial -- On the side of a structure, turned toward the main axis.
Adnate -- Fusion or attachment of unlike parts (e.g., the calyx
Adventitious -- Development of structures in unusual locations;
in the case of roots, generally refers to the development of roots from the stem or leaf.
Alternate -- Any arrangement of leaves or other parts not opposite
or whorled; arranged singly at different heights on the stem.
Ament -- A pendulous spikelike inflorescence with apetalous, unisexual
flowers; a catkin.
Amphiberingian -- Occurring on both sides of the Bering Strait;
a phytogeographic element resulting from past migration across the
Bering Land Bridge.
Amplexicaul -- Clasping the stem.
Androecium -- A collective term referring to male floral parts,
that is, the stamens.
Androgynous -- A spike bearing staminate (male) and pistillate
(female) flowers where the staminate flowers are positioned above the
pistillate flowers, closer to the apex of the inflorescence.
Annual -- Living for only one growing season.
Anther -- The pollen producing sac of the stamen.
Anthesis -- The period of time when a flower is fully open, "flowering
Anthocyanic -- Of the character of anthocyanins, water-soluble
pigments ranging in colour from blue or violet through purple to crimson.
Apetalous -- Without petals.
Apex -- Tip, point or end.
Aphyllopodic -- Having lower leaves that are bladeless or reduced
to scales (e.g., Carex spp.).
Apical -- Located at the apex.
Apiculate -- "Abruptly sharp-pointed".
Apomictic -- Capable of reproducing asexually.
Apomixis -- Any of several types of asexual reproduction.
Aquatic -- Living in water.
Arachnoid -- Covered with long, delicate, tangled hairs; resembling
Arcuate -- Curved.
Areoles -- Small, clearly marked, round areas appearing on the
leaves of Opuntia.
Aril -- An appendage or outer covering of a seed, growing out from
the hilum or funiculus; sometimes it appears as a pulpy covering.
Aristate -- Tipped with stiff awns or bristles; "stiff-awned or
Armed -- Possessing prickles, spines, or thorns.
Articulate -- Jointed; separating at a joint, by a clean cut scar,
Attenuate -- Gradually tapering to a slender base or tip, "long-pointed".
Auct. non -- Indicates that a species name is used commonly in
the literature but is incorrect and is not the name used to refer to the
Auricle -- An ear-shaped lobe or appendage.
Auriculate -- With auricles; often used to describe the base of
a leaf blade where there is an auricle on either side of the petiole;
with "earlike lobes".
Awn -- A slender bristlelike appendage, usually at the apex of
Axil -- The angle between a structure and the axis to which it
is attached (e.g., the angle between a leaf and the stem).
Axile placentation -- A pattern of placentation where the ovules
are attached to the partitions of a compound pistil near the center of
Axillary -- Used in reference to structures attached in the axil
or juncture of stem and leaf stalks.
Banner -- The largest upper petal of a papilionaceous
Barb -- A short, firm, reflexed process.
Barbellate -- Minutely or "finely-barbed"; bearing stiff hairs
Basal -- At, or forming, the base.
Beak -- A long, slender projection on a broader structure such
as a fruit or seed.
Bi -- A prefix meaning two or twice.
Bidentate -- With two teeth, "2-cleft".
Biennial -- Living for two seasons.
Bilabiate -- Two-lipped; often with reference to a zygomorphic
Bipinnate -- See bipinnatifid.
Bipinnatifid -- Twice branched.
Biseriate -- Arranged in two rows, doubly serrated.
Bisexual -- Bearing both male and female reproductive structures.
Biternate -- Two groups of three.
Bloom -- See glaucous.
Bract -- A modified leaf, reduced in size or form, that is associated
with a flower or an inflorescence; in conifers, a main appendage arising
from the axis of a cone.
Bractlet -- A small or secondary bract (syn. bracteole).
Bristle -- A stiff, hairlike structure.
Bristly -- With bristles.
Bulb -- A small, stout underground stem bearing modified (scalelike)
leaves and fibrous basal roots; generally food storage organs.
Bulbiferous -- Producing bulbs.
Bulbil -- A small bulb produced above the ground, often on the
Caducous -- Falling off the plant early relative
to other similar structures.
Caespitose -- Growing in dense, low-lying clumps, "tufted".
Calcareous -- Rich in calcium carbonate.
Callose -- Bearing callosities.
Callosity -- See callus.
Callus -- A hard or firm thickening of a structure; in grasses,
the thick, hardened basal portion of the lemma.
Calyx -- A collective name referring to the sepals, the outer whorl
of the perianth.
Campanulate -- "Bell-shaped" to saucer-shaped.
Canaliculate -- With a channel or a groove, "grooved".
Cane -- In Rubus spp., woody shoots that arise each year.
Canescent -- Appearing white or gray due to very short, fine hairs.
Capillary -- Very slender and "hairlike".
Capitate -- In a "headlike" cluster.
Capsule -- A dry, dehiscent fruit comprised of more than 1 carpel;
method of splitting further classifies the capsule type (e.g., circumscissile,
Carinate -- "Keeled".
Carpel -- The basic unit of a pistil, a modified seed bearing leaf.
Caruncle -- An often fleshy appendage at or near the attachment
point (hilum) of some seeds.
Caryopsis -- The dry, 1-seeded fruit found in grasses.
Catkin -- See ament.
Caudate -- Bearing a terminal, long and slender appendage like
Caudex -- The woody, thickened and persistent basal portion of
a herbaceous perennial that gives rise to leaves and flowering stems each
year, i.e. "stem-base".
Caulescent -- Having an obvious leafy stem.
Cauline -- Of, or pertaining to, the stem, i.e. "stem leaves".
Cellular -- A term used in reference to the cell-shaped network
of minutely raised and lignified ridges on epidermis (e.g., on the culm
of some Carex spp.).
Chaffy -- With thin dry scales or bracts; "papery", "papery-bracted".
Channeled -- Folded or with 1 or more deep grooves.
Chartaceous -- Having the texture of stiff paper or parchment;
"firm-papery", thickly membranous.
Ciliate -- Leaves fringed on the margins, with fine hairs (cilia),
Ciliolate -- Ciliate but with smaller hairs.
Cinereous -- Ash-coloured or light grey, sometimes somewhat bluish,
usually due to short hairs.
Circumboreal -- Distributed at the top or the bottom of the world
in the boreal zone.
Circumpolar -- Distributed around the North or the South Pole.
Circumscissile -- A capsule that dehisces transversely in a circular
line, like the opening of a lid.
Clavate -- "Club-shaped", the wider portion at the apex.
Claw -- The narrowed, basal portion of some petals or sepals.
Cleft -- Usually applied to leaf margins and sinuses cut sharply
and about half-way to the midrib or base; deeply lobed.
Cleistogamous -- Of flowers, small, closed, self-fertilized.
Cleistogenes -- Plants which bear cleistogamous flowers.
Collar -- In grasses, the band on the outside area of the leaf
at the point where the leaf blade and the sheath converge.
Coma -- A tuft of hair usually at the apex of structures like seeds.
Compound -- With 2 or more parts or components.
Confluent -- Structures merging into one; fusing at the bases.
Conic -- Cone-shaped; "conelike".
Connate -- Union or attachment of like parts (e.g., petals), "fused".
Connivent -- Convergent but not fused.
Convolute -- The arrangement of petals or sepals such that each
petal or sepal has 1 edge exposed while the other is covered; in grasses,
a leaf that is rolled longitudinally so that 1 edge is inside the other.
Cordate -- Shaped like a heart, with the notch at the base; "heart-shaped".
Coriaceous -- Having a thick and leathery texture, "leathery".
Corm -- A thickened, underground stem with papery leaves; a storage
Corniculate -- Bearing small horns.
Corolla -- The collective term describing the petals of a flower.
Corymb -- A flat-topped, indeterminant inflorescence where pedicels
of florets are progressively shorter towards the center of the inflorescence;
may be simple or compound.
Corymb -- A flat-topped, indeterminate inflorescence where pedicels
of florets are progressively shorter towards the center of the inflorescence;
may be simple or compound.
Corymbose -- A flat or convex-topped inflorescence; resembling
Costa -- A prominent rib or vein.
Cotyledon -- The first functional leaf of a seedling.
Crenate -- Toothed with rounded, broad teeth, "round-toothed".
Crenulate -- Crenate but with smaller teeth.
Crown -- The persistent basal portion of a perennial plant (e.g.,
grass), or the leafy portion of a tree; any appendage situated between
the corolla and the stamens.
Cruciform -- Having the shape of a cross, "cross-shaped".
Cucullate -- Hooded or "hood-shaped".
Culm -- The flowering stem of grasses, sedges and rushes.
Cuneate -- Triangular or "wedge-shaped" with the acute angle at
Cupulate -- Cup-shaped; "cuplike".
Cuspidate -- Bearing a short, rigid and sharp point, usually in
reference to the apex of a leaf, "awl-tipped".
Cyme -- An inflorescence in which all floral axes terminate in
a single flower with the terminal flower, at the apex of the inflorescence,
Cymose -- Bearing cymes, or cyme-like.
Deciduous -- Seasonal shedding of leaves or
other structures after the growth period.
Decumbent -- Lying on the ground with the end curved upward.
Decurrent -- A structure adnate or confluent to the stem near its
insertion point, with an adnate wing or margin extending down the stem
or axis below the point of insertion.
Definite -- Distinct; precise.
Deflexed -- Bent downward or backward.
Dehiscent -- Discharge of contents by the opening of pores or slits,
most often pertaining to the opening of fruit at maturity.
Deltoid -- Shaped like an equilateral triangle.
Dentate -- With sharp, spreading teeth, "sharp-toothed".
Determinate -- An inflorescence with the terminal or central flower
developing first so that the inflorescence does not continue to grow in
Determinate -- An inflorescence with the terminal or central flower
Dichotomous -- Forked with both branches of approximately equal
Didymous -- Occurring or developing in pairs.
Digitate -- Handlike.
Dimorphic -- Having two forms.
Dioecious -- Male and female reproductive structures borne on different
Disarticulate -- The separation of structures at maturity.
Disciform -- With the form of a disk; in the Asteraceae, with the
central flowers of a head perfect (or func tionally staminate) andthe
marginal flowers pistillate but without a ligule.
Discoid -- Resembling a disk; in the Asteraceae, with the flowers
of a head all tubular and perfect (or functionally staminate).
Disk corolla (disk flower) -- Tubular corolla or flower of some
members of the Asteraceae.
Dissected -- Divided into many small, fine and often repeated parts
Distal -- Denoting the region furthest away from the organâ€™s
point of attachment.
Distichous -- With parts on opposite sides of the stem in the same
Divaricate -- "Widely spreading".
Dorsal -- Pertaining to, or located on, the back of an organ.
Drupe -- A fleshy, 1-seeded or 1-stoned fruit of some plants of
the rose family (e.g., cherries, peaches).
Dystrophic -- A water body turning brown with suspended organic
material and having a high carbon to nitrogen ratio of 10:1 or greater.
Elliptic -- Shaped like an ellipse, the broadest
point midway between the ends, and the width about one half the length.
Emarginate -- Having a shallow notch at the apex, usually with
reference to a leaf or petal.
Emarginate -- Having a shallow notch at the tips, usually with
reference to a leaf or petal.
Endocarp -- The innermost layer of the three layers comprising
the mature ovary wall of a fruit.
Entire -- A continuous margin, without teeth or divisions.
Epigaeous -- Growing above ground.
Epiphytic -- A plant that grows on another plant but does not receive
nourishment from it.
Equitant -- With alternate leaves whose basal portions overlap
and are flattened lengthwise (e.g., Iris).
Erose -- An irregular margin, appearing eroded or gnawed, not fringed
Ex -- With respect to plant authorities, indicates that the first
author proposed the name for a plant and the second author published that
Excurrent -- Extending beyond the margin or tip, as a midrib developing
into a mucro or awn; with a continuing central axis from which lateral
Exfoliate -- To peel off in shreds, thin layers or plates, as bark
from a tree trunk.
Exserted -- Projecting beyond a surrounding structure, like stamens
projecting beyond a corolla.
Extravaginal -- Located outside the sheath that surrounds another
Falcate -- Curved sideways and tapering, "sickle-shaped".
Farinose -- Covered with a white mealy substance.
Fascicle -- A cluster.
Ferruginous -- Rust in colour.
Fibril -- Short, threadlike hair.
Filament -- The slender stalk of the stamen that supports the anther.
Filiform -- "Threadlike", slender and cylindrical.
Fimbriate -- Fringed with hairs coarser than cilia.
Fistulose -- Hollow.
Flabellate -- "Fan-shaped".
Flabelliform -- See flabellate.
Flexuous -- Bent in opposite directions; having a more or less
zig-zag or wavy form.
Floccose -- Covered with tufts of soft woolly hairs that usually
rub off readily.
Flora -- a collective term for plant life, the plant species
found in a region
Floret -- A small flower, particularly 1 in a floral cluster; pertains
also to the flower of a grass spikelet which includes the lemma, palea
and reproductive structures.
Floret -- A small flower, particularly one in a floral cluster;
pertains also to the flower of a grass spikelet which includes the lemma,
palea and reproductive structures.
Foliaceous -- "Leaflike".
Follicle -- A dry, dehiscent fruit composed of one carpel that
splits at the side upon maturing to release its seeds.
Fornix (pl. fornices) -- A small, scale like or petaloid appendage
in the tube or throat of the corolla.
Free central placentation -- A pattern of placentation where the
ovules are borne on a single stalk, which is anchored at the base of a
Frond -- The leaf of a fern.
Fruit -- The ripened ovary and any other structures that enclose
Funnelform -- "Funnel-shaped," usually pertaining to the corolla.
Fusiform -- "Spindle-shaped," broadest at the middle and tapering
to opposite ends.
Galea -- The hooded portion of the perianth
in some irregular or bilabiate flowers (e.g., as in Castilleja).
Galea -- The hooded portion of the perianth in some irregular or
Gametophyte -- The sexual reproductive stage of a plant that produces
gametes; in ferns it is often the small inconspicuous form of the plant.
Gamopetalous -- Flowers which are fused to any degree.
Geminate -- "In pairs".
Gemma (pl. gemmae) -- A young bud from which plants vegetatively
Geniculate -- Abruptly bent.
Gibbous -- Swollen on one side.
Glabrate -- "Nearly smooth," or becoming smooth, usually with age.
Glabrescent -- See glabrate.
Glabrous -- "Smooth," without hairs or glands.
Gland -- A spot or structure that produces a sticky or greasy substance.
Glandular -- Having glands.
Glandular-pubescent -- With gland-tipped hairs, "glandular-tipped".
Glaucous -- Covered with a whitish or bluish waxy powder that readily
rubs off, with a bloom.
Globose -- Spherical.
Glochidia -- Retrorsely barbed hairs.
Glomerate -- Aggregated or condensed into heads.
Glomerule -- A dense cluster, usually of flowers.
Glumes -- The two small bracts located at the base of a grass spikelet;
they do not subtend flowers.
Glutinous -- Covered with a sticky, glue-like resin.
Gynaecandrous -- A spike bearing staminate (male) and pistillate
(female) flowers where the staminate flowers are positioned below the
pistillate flowers, thus the pistillate flowers are closest to the spike
Hastate -- Shaped like the head of an arrow
with the basal lobes flaring outward, "arrowhead-shaped".
Head -- A dense indeterminant inflorescence of sessile (or nearly
sessile) flowers, situated on an axis that is much compressed vertically
and sometimes flattened or saucer-shaped.
Hemispheric -- In reference to a head, with a half-sphere shape.
Herb -- Plant with stem that dies back to the ground after flowering
or at the end of the growing season.
Herbaceous -- A non-woody plant.
Heterophyllus -- Having two types of leaves.
Heterosporous -- Producing of two different types of spores, generally
differing in size.
Hirsute -- Covered with long, stiff and coarse hairs, "stiff-hairy".
Hirtellous -- Minutely hirsute.
Hispid -- Bearing long, rigid and very sharp bristles or "bristlelike"
Hispidulous -- Slightly hispid.
Hoary -- Covered with short and fine white or grey hairs.
Homophyllous -- With leaves that are all identical or very similar
Homosporous -- Production of one type of spore.
Hyaline -- Thin, almost completely transparent tissue, translucent,
Hybrid -- A cross between 2 taxa, usually a cross between 2 species
of the same genus.
Hypanthium -- A cup-like structure surrounding the ovary, formed
by the fusion of the basal portions of the calyx, corolla and androecium.
Imbricate -- Partly overlapping in a spiral
manner, shingle-like, "graduated".
Imperfect -- Flowers lacking either female or male reproductive
structures, a unisexual flower.
In -- With respect to plant authorities, indicates that the first
author described the plant in an article edited or published by the second
Incised -- Cut sharply, deeply and irregularly, as in leaf margins.
Indehiscent -- Remaining closed at maturity, not splitting.
Indeterminate -- An inflorescence with the terminal or central
flower developing last thus allowing the inflorescence to continue growing.
Indument -- Appendages or outgrowths from the epidermis of a plant,
a collective term, of hairs or scales.
Indurate -- Hard or stiff.
Indusium (pl. indusia) -- A scale-like outgrowth that covers and
protects the cluster of sporangia located on the underside of a fern frond.
Inferior (ovary) -- When the perianth and androecium are fused
at the top of the ovary wall, the ovary position is described as inferior.
Inflorescence -- The flowering cluster, categorized by the arrangement
of flowers on the floral axis.
Intergradients -- Taxa that interbreed and consequently share many
characteristics making it difficult to separate them taxonomically.
Internode -- The section of a stem or another structure between 2 nodes.
Interrupted -- Discontinuous, with gaps.
Involucre -- A rosette of bracts subtending an inflorescence or
Involute -- Margins longitudinally in-rolled, on the upper side,
toward the center.
Irregular -- Pertaining to a flower in which similar parts (e.g.,
petals) are unequal in shape and size (syn. zygomorphic).
Keel -- In a papilionaceous flower, the 2 lowermost
connate petals; resembles the keel of a boat; in grasses, the sharp crease
or ridge of the leaf blades, the lemma or the glume.
Lacerate -- With an irregular or jagged margin,
as if torn.
Lamina -- The flattened portion (i.e., the blade) of a leaf or
Lanate -- Woolly, with long intertwined, curly hairs.
Lanceolate -- "Lance-shaped"; longer than broad, widening above
the base and tapering to the apex.
Leaflet -- One of the segments or divisions of a compound leaf.
Lemma -- The outermost of the two bracts that subtend the grass
floret (See palea).
Lenticular -- Biconvex in shape, "lens-shaped".
Ligulate -- With a ligule.
Ligule -- Flattened part of the ray corolla in the Asteraceae;
in many grasses and some sedges and rushes, a membranous (or hair-like)
appendage on the inner side of the leaf at the junction of the leaf blade
and the sheath.
Linear -- Long and narrow, with parallel margins.
Locule -- A compartment in the ovule or anther.
Lodicule -- One of 2 or 3 scales appressed to the base of the ovary
Lunate -- Crescent-shaped.
Lustrous -- Shiny.
Lyrate -- Pinnatifid with the end lobe enlarged and rounded.
Maculate -- "Spotted".
Malpighiaceous -- Hairs attached to a surface by their centers.
Maritime -- Near to, or influenced by, the sea.
Megasporangia -- The sporangia of a heterosporous plant that produces
Megaspore -- On a heterosporous plant, the larger of 2 spore sizes
produced; a spore involved in development of female reproductive organs.
Megaspore -- On a heterosporous plant, the larger of two spore
sizes produced; a spore involved in development of female reproductive
Membranaceous -- Of parchmentlike texture.
Membranous -- Of parchmentlike texture.
Mericarp -- One portion of the fruit (e.g., a schizocarp) that
splits into two halves at maturity, found in members of the Apiaceae and
Merous -- A suffix referring to the division of floral parts, e.g.,
a 3-merous flower would have 3 petals, 3 sepals, 3 stamens, and a pistil
with 3 carpels.
Mesic -- Relating to habitats with a moderate or average amount
Microsporangia -- The sporangia of a heterosporous plant that produces
Microspore -- On a heterosporous plant, the smaller of two spore
sizes produced; a spore involved in the development of male reproductive
Monoecious -- Male and female reproductive structures borne on
the same plant.
Mottled -- Marked with spots or blotches.
Mucro -- A small, short and abrupt point.
Mucronate -- Having a mucro or abrupt, short projection on the
midrib at the leaf tip, "abruptly slender-tipped".
Mucronate -- Having mucro or abrupt, short projection on the mid-vein
at the leaf tip.
Muricate -- Roughened with short, firm and sharp projections.
Naked -- Lacking various organs, hairs or appendages.
Naturalized -- A well established plant originating from another
Neutral -- In reference to a flower lacking functional stamens
Nodding -- Curving to one side; minutely pendulous.
Node -- The location on a stem where stems or leaves usually originate,
generally a swollen area, other structures like tendrils and flowers may
also originate here.
Nodulose -- More or less knobby, diminutive of nodose, especially
for describing roots.
Nom. superfl. -- A plant name that has been superceded by a valid
name; a superfluous name.
Nut -- A hard, indehiscent fruit, with 1 seed.
Nutlet -- A small nut; also used when referring to each lobe of
the 4-lobed nuts found in Boraginaceae.
Ob -- A prefix meaning in the reverse of the
Obconical -- Conical in shape with attachment point at the narrow
end of the cone.
Obcordate -- Having an inverted heart shape, "heart-shaped".
Oblanceolate -- Reverse of lanceolate, widest above the middle
and tapering to the base.
Oblong -- Much longer than wide with parallel or nearly parallel
Obovate -- The reverse of ovate; attached at the narrow end, "egg-shaped".
Obpyramidal -- Having the shape of an inverted pyramid.
Obsolete -- Reduced to the point of being entirely, or almost,
Obtuse -- Blunt, rounded.
Ochroleucous -- Yellowish-white to buff or cream-colored.
Oligotrophic -- A water body low in nutrients.
Olivaceous -- Olive-like in colour.
Operculate -- Provided with an operculum; a little lid, the deciduous
cap of a circumcissile fruit, or a fruit that dehisces along the circumference
near the apex.
Orbicular -- Having a circular outline.
Ovary -- The enlarged base of the pistil that contains the developing
seeds, matures into the fruit.
Ovate -- Shaped like a henâ€™s egg, attached
at the broader end, "egg-shaped". Term applied to plane surfaces.
Ovoid -- Shaped like a henâ€™s egg, "egg-shaped".
Term applied to solid objects.
Ovule -- A young or undeveloped seed.
Palea -- The innermost of the 2 bracts that
subtend the floret in grasses (see lemma).
Palmate -- Lobed or divided in a palm- or hand-like fashion, digitate.
Panicle -- A branching inflorescence on which younger flowers are
borne at the apex.
Paniculate -- Resembling a panicle.
Paniculiform -- Resembling a panicle.
Papilionaceous flower -- A strongly irregular flower with five
petals, the lowermost 2 petals are connate (fused) and form the keel,
as in Fabaceae.
Papillate -- Covered with small minute rounded protuberances (papillae)
Pappus -- The modified outer perianth series crowning the ovary
and achene in the Asteraceae; usually plumose, bristle-like, or of scales.
Parietal placentation -- A pattern of placentation, in compound
pistils only, where ovules are attached to the outer wall of the carpel.
Patent -- Spreading or opening widely.
Pectinate -- "Comb-like", pinnately lobed with narrow segments
arranged like the teeth of a comb.
Pedicel -- The "stalk" of a single flower in an inflorescence,
or of a spikelet in grasses.
Pedicellate -- Having a pedicel, "stalked".
Peduncle -- The single supporting stalk of a flower or inflorescence.
Peltate -- An umbrella-shaped leaf whose attachment point is on
the underside of the leaf rather than at the base or margin, "umbrella-like".
Pendulous -- Hanging or drooping.
Perennial -- Growing for more than two seasons.
Perfect -- A flower that has functional stamens and pistils.
Perfoliate -- Bearing opposite leaves whose bases are wrapped around
the stem and connate, giving the appearance that the stem passes through
Perianth -- A collective term for the calyx and corolla.
Perigynium -- A "pouched" bract surrounding the pistil or achene
in Carex spp.
Persistent -- Remaining attached.
Petiole -- Leaf stalk.
Phenotypic plasticity -- Ability to adapt, morphologically, to
changing environmental conditions.
Phyllode -- A somewhat expanded but bladeless petiole taking on
the function of a leaf.
Phyllopodic -- Having well developed lower leaves instead of scales.
Piliform -- Having the shape of a long, sometimes wavy, hair.
Pilose -- Shaggy with soft hairs, "soft hairy".
Pinna (pl. pinnae) -- One of the primary divisions of a pinnately
compound leaf or frond.
Pinnate -- Compound leaf with the leaflets on both sides of an
Pinnatifid -- Pinnately lobed.
Pinnule -- A secondary leaflet in a bipinnately compound leaf.
Pistillate -- Flowers possessing pistils, but no functional stamens
(i.e., a female flower).
Pith -- The spongy tissue in the center of a root or stem that
surrounds vascular bundles.
Placentation -- The pattern of attachment of ovules in the ovary.
See axile, parietal or free central placentation.
Plumose -- "Feather-like".
Pod -- Any type of dry, dehiscent fruit.
Pollen -- A general term pertaining to the haploid (n) microspores
produced in the anther.
Polypetalous -- Flowers with all petals distinct, not united.
Polyploidy -- Two or more sets of chromosomes (e.g., 3n, 4n, 8n).
Prehensile -- Grasping.
Prickle -- Small, sharp outgrowth from epidermis, contains no vascular
Prismatic -- Prism-shaped.
Pro parte -- In part.
Pro parte sed non typus -- Resembles, in part, but not completely
the type specimen; possessing some but not all characteristics of the
Procumbent -- Prostrate or trailing stem, does not usually root
Proliferous -- Rooting from apical bulbil (a small bulb produced
above the ground, often on the flowering stem).
Propagule -- Any part of a plant capable of growing into a new
organism; e.g., seed, spore, gemma, cutting.
Prostrate -- Lying flat on the ground, may root at the nodes.
Proximal -- Denoting the region nearest to the organâ€™s
point of attachment.
Pruinose -- See glaucous.
Puberulent -- Bearing very short, loose or erect hairs, scarcely
visible to the unaided eye, minutely pubescent, "short-hairy".
Pubescent -- "Hairy".
Pulverulent -- Dusty, powdery.
Pulvinus -- Swollen tissue at the insertion point of the leaf petiole,
or sometimes at a joint or a minute gland.
Punctate -- Marked with pits or dots formed by glands or waxy spots,
Puncticulate -- Minutely punctate.
Pustulose -- More or less with little blisters or pustules, "minutely
Pyriform -- Pear-shaped.
Raceme -- An indeterminant, elongated inflorescence
where single flowers are borne on pedicels arranged on a single axis;
the youngest flowers are at the apex.
Racemiform -- Possessing the form of a raceme.
Rachilla -- The axis of a spikelet in grasses, refers to a secondary
axis in sedges.
Rachis -- The main stalk of an inflorescence or compound leaf,
the "axis of inflorescence".
Radiate -- In the Asteraceae, "heads with ray and disk flowers".
Ray (flower) -- Strap-shaped corolla (ligule), as in the Asteraceae.
Receptacle -- The expanded end of the stem on which floral parts
Reclining -- Lying on the ground or one plant pressed on another.
Reflexed -- Bent sharply downward or backward.
Regular (flowers) -- A flower with radial symmetry; petals and
sepals that are similar in shape, size, colour and orientation.
Reniform -- "Kidney-shaped".
Resinous -- Covered with a resin.
Reticulate -- Forming a network, netted like the veins of a leaf,
Retrorse -- Directed backward or downward.
Retuse -- See emarginate.
Revolute -- Leaf margins rolled toward the underside of the leaf.
Rhizome -- A creeping, underground stem or rootstalk that roots
at the nodes.
Rhombic -- "Diamond-shaped".
Rib -- A prominent vein, usually on a leaf.
Root -- The descending axis of a plant that anchors and absorbs
moisture from the ground, lacks nodes and internodes.
Rootstock -- Used loosely to mean a main root or an underground
root-like stem or branch.
Rosette -- A dense cluster of flowers or leaves radiating around
a central axis, usually basal in the case of leaves.
Rosulate -- In the form of a rosette.
Rotate -- A saucer-shaped corolla where the corolla tube is short
and petals are generally reflexed.
Rotund -- Rounded.
Rudimentary -- Usually a small, imperfectly developed structure,
generally reminiscent of an earlier evolutionary stage.
Rufous -- "Reddish-brown".
Rugose -- Possessing a "wrinkled" surface.
Rugulose -- Slightly rugose.
Saccate -- Shaped like a sac or pouch.
Sagittate -- Shaped like the head of an arrow, triangular with
the basal lobes pointing backward, "arrowhead-shaped".
Salverform -- A corolla having a long slender tube that flares
abruptly at the end.
Samara -- A winged, indehiscent fruit.
Samaroid -- Resembling a samara.
Saprophytic -- A plant that derives its nutrients from dead organic
matter and lacks the chlorophyll that gives most plants their green color.
Scaberulous -- "More or less rough".
Scabrid -- See scabrous.
Scabridulous -- "Minutely rough".
Scabrous -- Having a roughened surface caused by very short stiff
hairs or short sharp projections, "rough short-hairy".
Scabrule -- A stiff pointed projection or a short stiff hair.
Scale -- A small, flat structure resembling the scale of a fish.
Scapose -- Bearing a scape.
Scarious -- Having chaffy, membranous, brown or "wax-papery" edges.
Scrambling -- Slightly reclining.
Scree -- Relatively small broken rock material characteristic of
alpine areas, usually a result of freeze-thaw cycles.
Secund -- Having all flowers or branches borne on one side of the
Semi-aquatic -- A plant that may tolerate partial submersion in
water or a plant that roots in the soil but produces aquatic leaves.
Senescent -- The process of becoming old.
Sensu lato -- In the broad sense.
Sepals -- The outermost whorl of floral leaves, also called the
calyx and is usually green in color.
Septate -- (Nodulose), transversely wrinkled at regular intervals,
Septum -- A partition; in an ovary, a partition formed of the fused
walls of adjacent carpels.
Seriate -- In a series of rows.
Sericeous -- A surface with long, soft, appressed hairs, giving
a silky appearance and texture, "silky-hairy".
Serrate -- "Sharp-toothed"; like a saw edge.
Serrulate -- A leaf margin with small serrated teeth.
Sessile -- Without a stalk, "unstalked".
Seta (pl. setae) -- A bristle.
Setaceous -- Bristlelike.
Setose -- Bearing setae or bristles.
Sheath -- A thin tubular organ that partially or wholly surrounds
another organ; in grasses, the basal portion of the leaf blade that wraps
around the stem.
Shrub -- A woody perennial plant, less than 10 m tall, with several
Silicle -- A dry fruit of plants in the Brassicaceae generally
not more than two times longer than wide which opens along the edges leaving
the seeds attached to a central partition.
Silique -- A long slender fruit of the Brassicaceae family which
splits open along the edges leaving seed attached to a central partition.
Simple -- A leaf not compounded into leaflets, or an unbranched
Sinuate -- A pronouncedly waved leaf margin, "wavy".
Sinus -- "Notch", a cavity or a depression between two adjacent
structures (e.g., the space between two lobes of a leaf).
Smooth -- Without hairs of any type.
Sordid -- "Dirty tinged".
Sorus (pl. sori) -- A cluster of spore producing structures (sporangia)
on the underside of a fern frond.
Spadix -- A spike with small, densely crowded, unisexual flowers
on a thick and fleshy axis, the inflorescence is subtended by a spathe.
Spathe -- A large bract surrounding a spadix.
Spatulate -- Broad and rounded at the apex; narrowing to the base,
Spatulate -- Broad and rounded at the tips; narrowing to the base,
Spiciform -- An inflorescence resembling a spike, "spike-like".
Spike -- An unbranched inflorescence; flowers are sessile.
Spikelet -- A small spike; in grasses, the primary inflorescence
composed of two glumes and one or more florets.
Sporangia -- Spore producing structures.
Sporangium -- Reproductive structure of ferns that produces spores.
Spore -- A haploid (n) reproductive cell.
Sporocarp -- The structure that contains the sporangia in ferns.
Sporophore -- A leaf bearing reproductive structures; generally
used in reference to the spore bearing leaves of ferns.
Sporophyll -- A modified leaf bearing sporangia.
Sporophyte -- The generation in the reproductive cycle of plants
that produces spores; in ferns generally refers to the conspicuous form
of the plant (See gametophyte).
Spur -- A slender and hollow floral appendage, generally nectariferous.
Squamiform -- "Scalelike".
Squarrose -- Having parts, generally at the tip of a structure,
that are abruptly curving and spreading.
Stamen -- The male sex organ of a plant constructed of an anther
and a filament, the anther produces pollen.
Staminode (pl. staminodia) -- A sterile, sometimes modified stamen
Stellate -- "Star-shaped"; having many rays radiating out from
a common center.
Steppe -- An extensive area of dry, arid grassland.
Sterile -- Infertile flowers.
Stigma -- The generally expanded, apical portion of the pistil
which is receptive to pollen.
Stipe -- A stalk supporting the pistil; also the petiole of the
frond of a fern.
Stipitate -- Borne on a stipe or short stalk, "short-stalked".
Stipule -- An appendage that maybe present on each side of the
base of a leaf or petiole at its insertion point on the stem.
Stolon -- An elongate, creeping, above-ground horizontal stem that
roots at the nodes or at the tips.
Stramineous -- Having the color of straw, "straw-colored".
Striate -- With fine longitudinal lines, channels or ridges.
Strigillose -- Like strigose but with shorter hairs, "short appressed-hairy".
Strigose -- A surface having sharp, appressed and straight hairs
that are stiff and often basally swollen, "appressed hairy".
Style -- A generally elongated stalk connecting the ovary and the
stigma through which the pollen tube grows.
Styliform -- Resembling a long slender stalk, like a style.
Stylopodium -- A disk-like enlargement at the base of the style.
Sub -- A prefix signifying below, somewhat, slightly or rather.
Subspecies (ssp.) -- A category of biological classification ranking
immediately below the species level.
Subtend -- To be positioned directly or closely beneath something.
Subulate -- Narrowly triangular and tapering to a small point like
an awl, "awl-like".
Succulent -- Fleshy, having a soft and thickened texture.
Sulcate -- Longitudinally grooved or furrowed.
Superior ovary -- An ovary which is attached to the summit or center
of the receptacle and is free from all other flower parts.
Sympatric -- Occurring in the same geographic area.
Sympodial -- Having an apparent main or central axis that is actually
comprised of several short overlapping branches.
Synonym -- An equivalent superseded name, a second name to a given
Talus -- An accumulation of rock material on
or at the base of a slope, larger material than scree.
Taproot -- An underground tapering root from which smaller lateral
roots may form (may be thick or thin).
Tendril -- A long, slender, generally twisting structure from which
a climbing plant acquires its support.
Tepals -- A collective term applied to petals and sepals when they
are morphologically identical.
Terete -- A structure that is circular in cross section but imperfectly
cylindrical since the object may taper 1 or both ways.
Ternate -- Arranged in groups of three.
Tetrad -- In groups of four.
Tetraploid -- Four sets of chromosomes (4n).
Thyrse -- An elongated and densely flowered panicle, often contracted
and pyramidal in shape.
Thyrsoid -- Resembling a thyrse.
Tomentose -- Densely pubescent with soft, matted wool-like hairs,
Tomentulose -- Slightly or finely tomentose or "slightly woolly".
Tomentulose -- Slightly tomentose or "slightly woolly".
Toothed -- Bearing teeth-like protrusions.
Torose -- Having successive swellings and contractions, "constricted
between the seeds".
Torulose -- Slightly torose.
Tri -- A prefix meaning three or three times.
Tricuspidate -- See cuspidate.
Trifid -- Separated into three parts.
Trifoliate -- A compound leaf with three leaflets.
Trigonous -- Having three angles.
Tripinnate -- Branched three times.
Triquetrous -- With three sharp angles, like a triangle with concave
Trophophore -- A vegetative leaf or frond, one that does not have
reproductive structures attached.
Truncate -- Cut-off at the end; having a squared shape at the apex
Tuber -- A thickened, modified underground stem having many buds
(e.g., a potato).
Tubercle -- A small, rounded swelling.
Tuberculate -- Bearing tubercles.
Tuberous -- Thickened; producing tubers.
Turbinate -- Inversely conical, "top-shaped".
Turgid -- "Swollen".
Turion -- A small, scaly bud-like offset on an underground stem.
Type specimen -- A specimen identified by the author of a species
that, morphologically, represents the best example of this species (syn.
Umbel -- An inflorescence in which all flowers
arise from a common point, younger flowers are in the center, may be simple
Umbellate -- Arranged in umbels, umbel-like, "umbrella-like".
Umbellet -- A secondary umbel in a compound umbel.
Undulate -- A slightly wavy margin.
Uniseriate -- Arranged in a row or series.
Urceolate -- "Urn-shaped".
Utricle -- A small, thin-walled, one-seeded, more or less inflated
Valve -- One of the segments into which a dehiscent
fruit splits at maturity.
Variety (var.) -- A category of biological classification ranking
immediately below the species or subspecies level.
Veins -- Thin threads of vascular tissue, as in a leaf.
Velutinous -- Having a velvety texture.
Vernal -- Pertaining to, or appearing in, spring.
Verrucose -- Covered with wart-like protrusions, "wartlike".
Verticillate -- See whorled.
Verticils -- See whorl.
Vestige -- The reduction of a structure whose functional importance
has decreased with evolutionary time.
Villous -- With long and soft, unmatted hairs, "long-hairy".
Viscid -- Glutinous, greasy, or sticky.
Wanting -- Lacking.
Whorl -- Three or more structures arranged in a circular manner
around a common insertion point.
Whorled -- Having whorls.
Wing -- A thin membranous outgrowth.
Winged -- Bearing wings.