Glossary of Botanical Terms
Achene: A small, dry, hard one-locular, one-seeded closed fruit with a thin pericarp, derived from a one-carpellate ovary.
Acuminate: Long-tapering to a pointed apex.
Adventitious: Buds or roots that develop without pattern.
Annual: Life cycle completed in one year or one season.
Axil: The angle found between any two organs or structures.
Biennial: Plant with life cycle completed in two years or seasons.
Bipinnate: A pinnate leaf with the divisions also being pinnate, twice pinnate.
Bracts: A reduced leaf, particularly one subtending a flower as the involucral bracts in Asteraceae.
Calcareous: Of the nature of, or containing, lime.
Calyx: The usually green, outer whorl or series of whorls surrounding flower petals.
Cauline: Pertaining or belonging to an evident stem or axis, as opposed to basal.
Ciliate: With hairs arranged on the edge of a flattened structure such as a leaf or petal.
Compound: Composed of two or more similar and united parts, as in a compound pistil or leaf.
Cordate: With a sinus or rounded lobe at the base.
Corolla: The inner, usually colored or otherwise differentiated, whorl or whorls of the perianth.
Corymb: Short, broad, more or less flat-topped indeterminate inflorescence, the outer flowers opening first.
Crenate: Shallowly round-toothed or teeth obtuse; scalloped.
Cuneate: Wedge-shaped; triangular, with the narrow end at the point of attachment, at the bases of certain leaves or petals.
Cyme: A broad, flattish determinate inflorescence, the central flowers maturing first.
Deciduous: Not persistent or evergreen.
Decumbent: Reclining or lying on the ground, but with the end ascending.
Dioecious: Having staminate and pistillate flowers on separate plants.
Drupes: A fleshy, usually one-seeded indehiscent fruit with seed enclosed in a stony endocarp.
Eciliate: Without hairs arranged on the edge of a flattened structure such as a leaf or petal.
Elliptic: Having narrow to relatively round ends and being widest at or about the middle, two-dimensional, essentially laminate.
Entire: A margin without teeth, lobes or divisions.
Glabrous: Without hairs, smooth.
Glaucous: Covered with a fine, waxy, removable powder that imparts a whitish or bluish cast to the surface.
Globose: Globular or spherical in shape.
Hirsute: With rather rough or coarse hairs.
Hymenopterous: Pertaining or belonging to an order of insects, Hymenoptera, having four membranous wings, comprising the wasps, bees, ants, etc.
Inflorescence: The flowering section of a plant.
Involucre: A whorl or collection of bracts surrounding or subtending a flower cluster or a single flower.
Lanceolate: Lance-shaped, much longer than wide, widened at or above the base and opening to the apex.
Lenticels: A lens-shaped, biconvex spot on the surface of a plant, which serves as a pore.
Mericarps: The individual, separated carpels of a schizocarp as in the Apiaceae or the "nutlets" in the Boraginaceae.
Monoecious: With staminate and pistillate flowers on the same plant.
Monotypic: Having only one representative, as a genus with a single species.
Non-ionic surfactant: A surface active agent that reduces the surface tension between it and another liquid not occurring in the form of ions.
Obtuse: Blunt, rounded at the end.
Odd-pinnate: Pinnately compound and with a terminal leaflet, so that typically there is an odd num-ber of leaflets.
Ovate: With an outline like that of a hen's egg, the broader end below the middle, having two dimen-sions.
Panicles: An indeterminate branching raceme; an inflorescence in which the branches of the primary axis are racemose and the flowers pedicellate.
Pedicel: The support of a single flower in a cluster, any stalk or stem between sepals and main axis.
Perennial: A plant living three or more years duration.
Perfect flowers: Bisexual; having both male and female sexual organs.
Petiole: The stalk by which a leaf is attached to the stem; leaf stalk.
Pinnate: With the leaflets or pinnae of a compound leaf placed on either side of the prolongated peti-ole, feather-like.
Plumose: Feathery appearance often from long dense pubescence; the pappus of some Asteraceae.
Polygamous: Bearing unisexual and bisexual flowers on the same plant, or different individuals of the same species.
Pubescent: Covered with soft, short hairs.
Raceme: A simple, elongated, indeterminate inflorescence with pedicelled or stalked flowers.
Rhizome: Usually elongate, horizontal underground or subsurface stem, usually rooting at the nodes.
Samaroid: Like or as a samara; an indehiscent, usually one-seeded winged fruit, such as a maple or elm.
Schizocarp: A fruit that splits between carpels into two or more one-seeded portions, as in the Apiaceae or Boraginaceae.
Serrate: With sharp teeth pointing forward.
Sessile: Attached by the base without a stalk or stem.
Silique: The long slender fruit of certain Brassicaceae, much longer than broad.
Squarrose: Abruptly spreading or recurved at some point above the base.
Suborbicular: Circular or round on the under side or beneath.
Surfactant: Any substance that when dissolved in an aqueous solution reduces its surface tension between it and another liquid.
Terete: Cylindrical, usually solid or slightly tapering, and round in cross-section.
Terminal: Growing at the tip or end of a branch or stem, as in a bud or inflorescence.
Tomentose: Closely covered with down or matted hair.
Truncate: Square or broad at the end, not tapered, base or apex essentially straight across.
Tuberous: Having a fleshy enlarged portion of a rhizome or stolon with only vestigial scales; true tubers found in the Solanaceae.
Umbel: An inflorescence with pedicels or flower stalks or both, nearly equal in length and arising from a common point; umbrella shaped.
Whorl: Three or more leaves or flowers at one node in a circle.
Gleason, H. A.; Cronquist, A. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Cananda, 2nd Ed. Bronx, NY: The New York Botanical Garden; 1991.
Radford, A. E.; Ahles, H. E.; Bell, C. R. Manual of the vascular flora of the Carolinas. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press; 1968.
Harris, J. G.; Harris, M. W. Plant identification terminology: an illustrated glossary. Spring Lake, UT: Spring Lake Publishing; 1994.
|Bargeron, C.T., D.J. Moorhead, G.K. Douce, R.C. Reardon & A.E. Miller |
(Tech. Coordinators). 2003. Invasive Plants of the Eastern U.S.:
Identification and Control. USDA Forest Service - Forest Health
Technology Enterprise Team. Morgantown, WV USA. FHTET-2003-08.