Visual Glossary
Acicular Narrow and long and pointed (as pine leaves) | See figure 3-2
Acute Ending in a sharp point | See figure 6-13
Acuminate Narrowing to a sharp point (as some types of leaf) | See figure 5-1
Alternate (Of leaves, flowers, etc) arranged singly at different heights on either side of the stem; or, (of parts of a flower) arranged opposite the spaces between other parts. Compare opposite | See figure 6-12
Androdioecious Having male flowers on some plants, bisexual ones on others
Androecium The male reproductive organs; the stamens of a flowering plant collectively
Andromonoecious having both bisexual and male flowers on the same plant
Anther The terminal part of a stamen consisting usually of two lobes each containing two sacs in which the pollen matures | See figure 1-1
Apex The pointed end or tip of something | See figure 2-1
Apical Of, relating to, located at, or constituting an apex | See figure 7-6
Apiculate Having a short sharply pointed tip | See figure 6-16
Aril An appendage on certain seeds developed from or near the funicle of the ovule and often brightly coloured and fleshy
Aristate A bristlelike part or appendage, such as the awn of grains and grasses | See figure 6-10
Attenuate Tapering gradually to a point | See figure 6-8
Auricle An earlobe shaped part, especially at the base of an organ
Auriculate Having ear-shaped parts or appendages | See figure 5-10 and figure 6-4
Axile Of, relating to, or attached to the axis | See figure 7-1
Barochory The dispersal of seeds, spores, or fruit by gravity alone
Basal Of, relating to, located at, or forming a base | See figure 7-5
Base The part of a plant that is nearest to its point of attachment | See figure 2-1
Basifixed With the anther attached by the base
Berry An indehiscent fruit derived from a single ovary and having the whole wall fleshy, such as grape or tomato
Bifid Divided into two lobes by a median cleft | See figure 6-22
Bipinnate (Of pinnate leaves) having the leaflets themselves divided into smaller leaflets | See figure 3-33
Bisexual Each flower of each individual has both male and female structures. It combines both sexes in one structure. Flowers of this kind are called perfect, having both stamens and carpels. Other terms used for this condition are androgynous, hermaphroditic, monoclinous and synoecious
Biternate Doubly ternate, as when a petiole has three ternate leaflets | See figure 3-29
Blade The flattened expanded part of a leaf, sepal, petal; or the long narrow leaf of a grass or related plant | See figure 2-1
Bract A leaflike or scalelike plant part, usually small, sometimes showy or brightly colored, and located just below a flower, a flower stalk, or an inflorescence
Bracteole A secondary (small) bract subtending a flower within an inflorescence. Also called bractlet.
Branchlet A small branch or division of a branch (especially a terminal division); usually applied to branches of the current or preceding year
Caducous Shed during the life of the organism
Calyx The whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud | See figure 1-1
Campanulate (Flower corollas) shaped like a bell
Capitate Forming a head-like mass or dense cluster (as the flowers of plants in the composite family)
Capitulum A racemose inflorescence in the form of a disc of sessile flowers, the youngest at the centre. It occurs in the daisy and related plants | See figure 1-11
Carpel The female reproductive organ of flowering plants, consisting of an ovary, style (sometimes absent), and stigma. The carpels are separate or fused to form a single pistil | See figure 1-1
Catkin An inflorescence consisting of a spike, usually hanging, of much reduced flowers of either sex: occurs in birch, hazel, etc | See figure 1-5
Caudate Having a tail or a tail-like appendage | See figure 6-11
Chartaceous Resembling paper or parchment; of paper-like texture; papery
Circinate Rolled up in the form of a coil with the tip in the center, as an unexpanded fern frond
Cladode v A photosynthetic branch or portion of a stem that functions as or resembles a leaf
Clasping Denoting a leaf whose base partially or completely surrounds a stem | See figure 5-9
Claw The narrow basal part of certain petals and sepals
Coccus The part of a fruit that contains one seed and separates from the whole fruit at maturity
Coma A usually terminal tuft or cluster, especially a tuft of hairs on a seed
Compound A leaf whose blade is divided into two or more distinct leaflets
Connate Joined or united with a structure of the same kind, as sepals, petals or leaves | See figure 5-12
Cordate (Of leaves) heart-shaped, with the attachment at the notched end | See figure 6-1
Corolla The whorl of petals of a flower that collectively form an inner floral envelope or layer of the perianth | See figure 1-1
Corymb An inflorescence in the form of a flat-topped flower cluster with the oldest flowers at the periphery | See figure 1-9
Corymbose Resembling a corymb | See figure 1-8
Crenate Having a margin with low, rounded or scalloped projections | See figure 6-27
Cuneate Wedge-shaped. Used especially to describe a leaf or petal base that is narrowly triangular | See figure 6-7
Cuspidate Terminating in or tipped with a sharp firm point | See figure 6-14
Cyme A flat-topped or round-topped determinate inflorescence, paniculate, in which the terminal flower blooms first | See figure 1-12,13
Cymose Having the characteristics of a cyme | See figure 1-12,13,14
Deciduous Shedding all leaves annually at the end of the growing season and then having a dormant period without leaves. Compare evergreen.
Decussate Arranged along the stem in pairs, with each pair at right angles to the pair above or below, resulting in four vertical rows (decussate leaves) | See figure 5-3
Deflexed Bent or turned abruptly downward at a sharp angle (deflexed petals)
Dentate Having a toothed margin | See figure 6-26
Dichasial A cyme producing two main axes from the primary axis or shoot | See figure 1-14
Didymous Arranged or occurring in pairs; twin
Digitate (Of compound leaves) having the leaflets in the form of a spread hand | See figure 3-27
Disk An enlargement or outgrowth of the receptacle around the base of the ovary; in the Compositae (Asteraceae) the central portion of the involucrate head bearing tubular or disk flowers
Distichous (Of leaves) arranged in two vertical rows on opposite sides of the stem | See figure 5-2
Dorsifixed Said of anthers that are attached to the filament somewhere along their back and at its center (usually versatile)
Drupe An indehiscent fruit consisting of outer epicarp, fleshy or fibrous mesocarp, and stony endocarp enclosing a single seed, as in the peach, plum, and cherry
Elliptic In the shape of an ellipse, or a narrow oval; broadest at the middle and narrower at the two equal ends | See figure 3-8
Emarginate Having a notched tip or edge | See figure 6-19
Endocarp The inner, usually woody, layer of the pericarp of a fruit, such as the stone of a peach or cherry
Ensiform Shaped like a sword blade (as the leaf of an iris)
Entire Having a smooth margin not broken up into teeth or lobes | See figure 6-23
Epicalyx A series of small sepal-like bracts forming an outer calyx beneath the true calyx in some flowers
Epicarp The outermost layer of the pericarp of fruits : forms the skin of a peach or grape
Epigynous Having the receptacle enclosing and fused with the gynoecium so that the other floral parts arise above it
Even-pinnate Of or relating to a compound leaf not terminating in a leaflet
Evergreen Bearing foliage throughout the year; continually shedding and replacing leaves. Compare deciduous
Exserted Projecting beyond the surrounding parts (as a stamen)
Falcate Shaped like a sickle | See figure 3-6
Fascicle A bundle or cluster of stems, flowers, or leaves
Filament The stalk of a stamen | See figure 1-1
Filiform Having the form of or resembling a thread or filament | See figure 3-3
Fimbriate Having a fringed margin, as some petals
Follicle A dry fruit, formed from a single carpel, that splits along one side only to release its seeds
Funicle The stalk that attaches an ovule or seed to the wall of the ovary
Fusiform Elongated and tapering at both ends, spindle-shaped
Glabrous Without hair or a similar growth; smooth
Globose Spherical or approximately spherical
Gonophore An elongated structure in certain flowers that bears the stamens and pistil above the level of the other flower parts
Gynandrophore A gynophore which bears the stamens as well as the pistil
Gynoecium The female reproductive organs of a flower; the pistil or pistils considered as a group
Gynophore A stalk in some plants that bears the gynoecium above the level of the other flower parts
Hastate (Of a leaf) having a pointed tip and two outward-pointing lobes at the base | See figure 6-2
Head A dense inflorescence such as that of the daisy and other composite plants; or any other compact terminal part of a plant, such as the leaves of a cabbage or lettuce | See figure 1-10
Helicoid cyme A type of determinate inflorescence having a coiled cluster, with flowers on only one side of the axis | See figure 1-12
Hilum A scar on the surface of a seed marking its point of attachment to the seed stalk (funicle)
Imparipinnate (Of pinnate leaves) having a terminal unpaired leaflet (compare paripinnate) | See figure 3-31
Indehiscent Not dehiscent; not opening to release seeds or spores at maturity
Incised Having margins that are sharply and deeply indented | See figure 3-22
Included (Of the stamens or pistils of a flower) not protruding beyond the corolla
Infructescence The fruiting stage of an inflorescence. The ensemble of fruits derived from the ovaries of an inflorescence
Involute Having margins that are rolled inwards | See figure 6-33
Keel A prow-shaped pair of petals present in flowers of the pea family (Fabaceae)
Lacerate Having edges that are jagged or torn; lacerated | See figure 3-24
Laciniate Having edges irregularly and finely slashed | See figure 3-23
Lanceolate Tapering from a rounded base toward an apex; shaped like the head of a lance | See figure 3-7
Leaflet A small leaf or leaf-like part, especially one of the blades or divisions of a compound leaf | See figure 2-2
Ligule A membranous outgrowth at the junction between the leaf blade and sheath in many grasses and sedges; or a strap-shaped corolla, such as that of a ray floret in the daisy | See figure 5-14
Linear Narrow and elongated with nearly parallel margins | See figure 3-4
Locule Any of the chambers of an ovary or anther | See figure 1-1
Lyrate (Of leaves) having a large terminal lobe and smaller lateral lobes | See figure 3-19
Margin The edge, as in the edge of a leaf blade | See figure 2-1
Marginal Of, relating to, located at, or constituting a margin, a border, or an edge | See figure 7-4
Mericarp An individual carpel of a schizocarp, having a single seed
Mesocarp The middle layer of the pericarp of a fruit, such as the flesh of a peach
Midrib The main vein of a leaf (or petal or sepal), running down the centre of the blade | See figure 2-1
Monocarpous (Monogynous) With only one carpel
Monochasial A cyme having only one lateral flower or branch originating from beneath a terminal flower, resulting in a helicoid or scorpiod inflorescence | See figure 1-12,13
Monodelphous (Of stamens) having united filaments forming a tube around the style
Mucro A short pointed projection from certain parts or organs, as from the tip of a leaf
Mucronate Terminating in a sharp point | See figure 6-15
Oblanceolate Having a rounded apex and a tapering base
Oblate Having the shape of a spheroid generated by rotating an ellipse about its shorter axis | See figure 3-16
Oblique Having unequal sides | See figure 6-5
Oblong Having a somewhat elongated form with approximately parallel sides | See figure 3-5
Obovate (Of a leaf or similar flat part) shaped like the longitudinal section of an egg with the narrower end at the base; inversely ovate | See figure 3-10
Obovoid Inversely ovoid; egg-shaped with the narrow end at the base. Compare ovoid.
Obtuse (Of a leaf or similar flat part) having a rounded or blunt tip | See figure 6-17
Ochrea A cup-shaped structure that sheathes the stems of certain plants, formed from united stipules or leaf bases | See figure 5-15
Opposite (Of leaves, flowers, etc) arranged in pairs on either side of the stem; or, (of parts of a flower) arranged opposite the middle of another part. Compare alternate
Orbicular (Of a leaf or similar flat part) circular or nearly circular | See figure 3-11
Ovary the hollow basal region of a carpel containing one or more ovules. In some plants the carpels are united to form a single compound ovary | See figure 1-1
Ovate Broad and rounded at the base and tapering toward the end (egg-shaped) | See figure 3-9
Ovoid Egg-shaped with the broader end at the base. Compare obovoid.
Ovule A small body in seed-bearing plants that consists of the integument(s), nucellus, and embryosac (containing the egg cell) and develops into the seed after fertilization | See figure 1-1
Palmate Having more than three lobes or segments that spread out from a common point | See figure 3-26
Panduriform Having rounded ends and a contracted center (fiddle-shaped) | See figure 3-17
Panicle A branched indeterminate inflorescence in which the branches are racemes, so that each flower has its own stalk (called a pedicel) attached to the branch (oats and sorghum have panicles) | See figure 1-15
Paniculate Having flowers in panicles
Pantropical Distributed throughout the tropics
Parietal Having ovules attached to the walls | See figure 7-3
Paripinnate (Of pinnate leaves) having an even number of leaflets and no terminal leaflet (compare imparipinnate) | See figure 3-30
Pedicel The stalk bearing a single flower of an inflorescence | See figure 1-1
Peduncle The stalk that attaches a single flower, an inflorescence, or a fruit to the stem | See figure 1-1
Peltate (Of leaves) having the stalk attached to the centre of the lower surface | See figure 3-11
Perfoliate (Of a leaf) having a base that completely encloses the stem, so that the stem appears to pass through it | See figure 5-11
Perianth Collective term for the outer parts of a flower consisting of the calyx and corolla and enclosing the stamens and pistils | See figure 1-1
Pericarp The tissue that arises from the ripened ovary wall of a fruit; the fruit wall. In fleshy fruits, the pericarp can often be divided into the epicarp, the mesocarp, and the endocarp. For example, in a peach, the skin is the epicarp, the yellow flesh is the mesocarp, while the stone or pit surrounding the seed represents the endocarp
Petal One of the often brightly colored parts of a flower immediately surrounding the reproductive organs; a division of the corolla | See figure 1-1
Petiolate (Of a plant or leaf) having a leafstalk (compare sessile) | See figure 5-5
Petiole The stalk by which a leaf is attached to the rest of the plant | See figure 2-1 and figure 3-33
Petiolule The stalk of any of the leaflets making up a compound leaf | See figure 2-2
Phyllode a flattened leafstalk that resembles and functions as a leaf
Pinna (pl. Pinnae) A leaflet or primary division of a pinnately compound leaf | See figure 3-33
Pinna Any leaflet of a pinnate compound leaf | See figure 3-33
Pinnate (Of compound leaves) having the leaflets growing opposite each other in pairs on either side of the stem | See figure 3-30,31,32
Pinnatifid (Of leaves) pinnately divided into lobes reaching more than halfway to the midrib | See figure 3-20
Pinnatisect (Of leaves) pinnately divided almost to the midrib but not into separate leaflets | See figure 3-21
Pinnule Any of the lobes of a leaflet of a pinnate compound leaf, which is itself pinnately divided leaflets | See figure 3-33
Pistil The female reproductive part of a flower, consisting of one or more separate or fused carpels; gynoecium | See figure 1-1
Pod The fruit of any leguminous plant, consisting of a long two-valved case that contains seeds and splits along both sides when ripe
Polycarpous (Polygynous) With many carpels,pistils or styles.
Polygamodioecious Mostly dioecious, but with either a few flowers of the opposite sex or a few bisexual flowers on the same plant
Pollen A fine powdery substance produced by the anthers of seed-bearing plants, consisting of numerous fine grains containing the male gametes
Premorse Appearing as though the end had been bitten off | See figure 6-21
Pubescent Covered with a layer of fine short hairs or down
Puberulent / Puberulous Covered with very fine down; finely pubescent
Pseudocarp A fruit, such as a strawberry, that contains tissue not derived from a ripened ovary
Pyriform Shaped like a pear
Raceme An indeterminate inflorescence in which each flower grows on its own stalk from a common stem | See figure 1-2
Racemose Bearing or arranged in the form of a raceme | See figure 1-2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11
Rachis (rachia) The main axis or stem of an inflorescence or compound leaf | See figure 2-2
Receptacle The enlarged upper end of a flower stalk that bears the flower or group of flowers | See figure 1-1
Reniform (Of a leaf or bean shape) resembling the shape of kidney | See figure 3-14
Reticulate Having the veins or nerves disposed like the threads of a net | See figure 4-4
Retuse Having a rounded apex and a central depression | See figure 6-18
Revolute (Of the margins of a leaf) rolled backwards and downwards | See figure 6-32
Rhomboid Shaped like an oblique-angled parallelogram with only the opposite sides equal | See figure 3-13
Rounded Curving and somewhat round in shape rather than jagged | See figure 6-9
Runcinate (Of a leaf) having a saw-toothed margin with the teeth or lobes pointing backwards | See figure 3-25
Sagittate Shaped like the head of an arrow | See figure 6-3
Samara A dry, indehiscent, winged one-seeded or two-seeded fruit, as of an ash, elm, or maple
Scabrid Having a rough or scaly surface
Schizocarp A dry fruit that develops from multiple carpels and splits into multiple, one-seeded mericarps at maturity
Scorpioid cyme A cyme with a curved axis and flowers arising two-ranked on alternate sides of the axis | See figure 1-13
Sepal One of the separate parts forming the calyx of a flower | See figure 1-1
Serrate (Of leaves) having a margin of forward pointing teeth | See figure 6-24,28
Sessile (Of flowers or leaves) having no stalk; growing directly from the stem | See figure 5-6
Setaceous having bristles
Sheath An enclosing or protective structure, such as a leaf base encasing the stem of a plant | See figure 5-7,8
Simple Not divided into parts (a simple leaf)
Sinuate (sinuous) Having a strongly waved margin | See figure 6-29
Spadix A racemose inflorescence having many small sessile flowers borne on a fleshy stem, the whole usually being surrounded by a spathe : typical of aroid plants | See figure 1-6
Spathaceous Having or ressembling a spathe
Spathe A large bract, often coloured, that surrounds the inflorescence of aroid plants and palms
Spatulate Shaped like a spatula : broadly rounded with a narrow, tapering base | See figure 3-15
Spike An inflorescence consisting of a raceme of sessile flowers; an ear of wheat, barley, or any other grass that has sessile spikelets | See figure 1-4
Spikelets The unit of a grass inflorescence, typically consisting of two bracts (glumes) surrounding one or more florets, each of which is itself surrounded by two bracts; or the small inflorescence of plants of other families, especially the sedges
Stamen The male reproductive organ of a flower, consisting of a stalk (filament) bearing an anther in which pollen is produced | See figure 1-1
Staminode A sterile stamen, that produces no pollen
Standard The large upper petal of the flower of a pea (Fabaceae) or related plant (also called banner or vexillum)
Stigma The receptive surface of a carpel, where deposited pollen germinates | See figure 1-1
Stipitate Possessing or borne on the end of a stipe
Stipulate Having stipules
Stipule A small paired usually leaflike outgrowth occurring at the base of a leaf or its stalk | See figure 2-1 and figure 5-13
Stipel A small paired leaflike structure at the base of certain leaflets; secondary stipule
Style the stalk of a carpel, bearing the stigma | See figure 1-1
Subulate Slender, somewhat cylindrical, and tapering to a point (awl-shaped) | See figure 3-1
Syncarp A fleshy multiple fruit, formed from two or more carpels of one flower or the aggregated fruits of several flowers
Tepal Any of the subdivisions of a perianth that is not clearly differentiated into calyx and corolla
Terete Smooth and usually cylindrical and tapering
Ternate Arranged in or consisting of sets or groups of three, as a compound leaf with three leaflets | See figure 3-28
Thyrse (Thyrsus) A dense flower cluster (as of the lilac or horse chestnut) in which the main axis is racemose and the branches are cymose | See figure 1-14
Tomentose Covered with short, dense, matted hairs
Torus The receptacle of a flower
Triangular Shaped like a triangle | See figure 3-12
Trigonous Having a triangular cross section
Truncate Having a blunt end, as though cut off at the tip (appearing to terminate abruptly) | See figure 6-6 and figure 6-20
Turbinate Shaped like a spiral or scroll
Umbel An inflorescence, characteristic of umbelliferous plants, in which the flowers arise from the same point in the main stem and have stalks of the same length, to give a cluster with the youngest flowers at the centre | See figure 1-7,8
Umbelate Having or forming an umbel or umbels | See figure 1-7,8
Undulate Having a wavy or rippled appearance, margin, or form | See figure 6-30
Valvate having the margins touching but not overlapping
Vein One of the strands of vascular tissue that form the conducting and supporting framework in a leaf or other expanded plant organ. Also called nervure | See figure 2-1
Venation The arrangement of the veins in a leaf | See figure 4-1,2,3,4
Versatile With the anther attached near the middle rather that at one end
Verticil A circular arrangement, as of flowers, leaves, or hairs, growing about a central point; a whorl
Verticillate Forming one or more whorls (especially a whorl of leaves around a stem) | See figure 5-4
Wing One of the lateral petals of the flower of a pea or of most plants in the pea family (Fabaceae)
Zoochory The dispersal of seeds, spores, or fruit by animals

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, C. McCann | HarperCollins Publishers, 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition | HarperCollins Publishers, 1995, 2002
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, sixth edition | The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2003
Plant identification terminology: an illustrated glossary, J. G. Harris & M. Woolf Harris | Spring Lake Publishing, 2001
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary| Random House Inc., 2005, 1997, 1991
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The American Heritage Science Dictionary | Houghton Mifflin Company, 2005
WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection | Princeton University, Farlex Inc., 2003-2012
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