Abaxial - The side away from the axis. Example - The underside of a leaf.
Achene - A dry, one seeded, indehiscent fruit. Example 1 - Those little hard things stuck to strawberries. Example 2 - A sunflower seed. Yes, you are eating achenes.
Actinomorphic - Regular. With radial symmetry. Divisible into equal halves in more than one plane.
Acuminate - Gradually tapering to a long slender point.
Acute - Abruptly tapering to a short or long point.
Adaxial - The side toward the axis. Example - The upperside of a leaf.
Alternate - Placed one at a node on different sides and heights of the axis or stem.
Androgynous - An inflorescence in which the female(pistillate) flowers are basal and the male(staminate) flowers are apical.
Anther - The pollen bearing portion of a stamen.
Anthesis - The time period when a flower opens, from expansion to complete opening.
Antrorse - Facing or directed upward or forward, as towards the tip of a stem.
Appressed - Pressed or lying flat against something.
Attenuate - With a gradual taper.
Auricle - A lobe or appendage. Example 1 - The lobes at the base of a leaf which clasps a stem.
Auriculate - Bearing an auricle. Whew, that was tough one!
Awn - A stiff bristle. Often seen as the pappus in flowers of the Asteraceae.
Axil - The upper portion of the junction of leaf and stem, or really any organ which arises laterally from an axis or stem.
Axillary - Coming from the axil.
Barbellate - Finely barbed.
Beak - Usually seen in fruits and seeds, a tapering or slender prolonged appendage.
Berry - An indehiscent, pulpy fruit with more than one seed, not single seeded like a peach or cherry.
Bilabiate - Two lipped.
Bipinnate - Divided twice. Twice pinnate.
Bipinnatifid - Divided twice but not completely to center. Often seen in leaves which appear as bipinnate however some leaf tissue remains between the divisions.
Blade - The expanded part of a leaf or petal.
Bract - A reduced(usually) leaf like appendage usually associated with an inflorescence or just at the base of a flower or flower head. Usually green but sometimes colored in absence of petals, as in a Poinsettia.
Bractlet - A secondary bract.
Bristle - A long or short stiff trichome or hair.
Bulb - An underground bud enclosed by many thickened, fleshy leaves or scales, often serving as a storage structure for the plant's food.
Calyx - The outer most portion of a flower, comprised of the sepals.
Campanulate - Bell shaped.
Canescent - Appearing gray or whitened in color due to a dense covering of fine hairs.
Capillary - Very fine and thin, hairlike.
Capsule - A dry, dehiscent fruit composed of more than one carpel,(having more than one seed).
Carpel - One simple pistil, or a single unit of a compound pistil.
Catkin - A group of unisexual flowers arranged in a spike(usually drooping).
Caudex - A persistent and usually woody base of a herbaceous perennial.
Cauline - On or from the stem.
Chaff - A thin, dry bract. Often seen originating on the receptacle of flowers from the Asteraceae.
Cilia - Hairs (marginal).
Clasping - A leaf base partly surrounding the stem it's attached to.
Clavate - Club shaped.
Claw - The narrowed, basal portion of flower petals or sepals. Often seen in the Brassicaceae.
Coma - A tuft of hairs attached to a seed.
Compound - Composed of two or more identical or similar parts. Example - Many of the leaves from species in the Fabaceae such as Albizia, Cassia, or Vicia.
Connate - Similar or like parts coming together and united.
Connivent - Coming together without being joined.
Cordate - "Heart" shaped. Not a real heart, a "love" heart. Can refer to the base (of a leaf) or the entire organ.
Coriaceous - With the texture of leather. Thick yet pliable.
Corm - A short, erect, enlarged underground stem with overlapping, usually thin and papery leaves.
Corolla - Of a flower, collectively the petals, typically colored other than green and showy.
Corymb - Flat topped cluster of flowers with the outer flowers opening first.
Corymbose - With corymbs, arranged in corymbs, corymblike.
Costa - A leaf midrib.
Crenate - With marginal rounded teeth.
Cuneate - Triangular. If in leaves then the narrow end is attached to the stem.
Cupulate - Cup shaped. Not like a "Dixie" cup, more like a wide coffee mug or a small bowl.
Cyathium - Specialized structure found in the Euphorbiaceae. A cup-like involucre which surrounds the flowers.
Cyme - Much like a corymb except the central flowers of a cyme open first, often dome shaped or loose and irregular.
Deciduous - Falling off.
Decompound - More than once compound.
Decumbent - Lying flat but with tips erect or ascending.
Decurrent - Extending down the stem from the point of attachment.
Dehisce - To break or split open along sutures or valves when mature.
Deltoid - Triangular, like a right triangle.
Dentate - Toothed, usually with the teeth pointing outward or perpendicular to an axil.
Denticulate - Like dentate except with small teeth.
Determinate(inflorescence) - Inflorescence in which the upper flower open first.
Diadelphous - Where the stamen filaments of a flower(usually in the Fabaceae) are united into two groups.
Digitate - A compoundness where the different parts all arise at a common point, like the fingers of a hand.
Dioecious(in plants) - Species in which the male(staminate) and female(pistillate) flowers are found on different plants.
Disc (Disk) - The central-most portion of a composite flower. Seen in the Asteraceae. Composed of tubular disc flowers.
Discoid - Bearing only tubular disc flowers.
Distinct - Separate.
Distylous - Having two flower forms, one with longer stamens and shorter styles, the other with longer styles and shorter stamens.
Dolabriform - A hair shape in which the point of attachment is not at the end of the hair, but internally, usually in the middle.
Drupe - A fleshy, indehiscent fruit where the seed is surrounded by a hard endocarp (shell). Example 1 - A peach. Example 2 - A cherry.
Echinate - With prickles.
Elastic (in plants) - Where the valves of a fruit(usually of the Fabaceae) violently split apart at maturity.
Elliptic - Broad in the middle, tapering to less broad at both ends.
Emarginate - With a shallow notch at tip.
Entire - Without teeth.
Erose - With a margin that appears gnawed or chewed.
Exserted - Projecting beyond or from.
Falcate - Sickle shaped.
Fascicle - A closely grouped cluster.
Ferruginous - Rusty-brown in color.
Filament - Of a stamen, the stalk which supports the anther.
Filiform - Threadlike, round(terete) in cross section.
Fimbriate - Fringed on a margin like a comb.
Fistulose - Hollow and cylindrical, like a piece of spaghetti.
Floricane - The stems which bear the flowers,(Rubus).
Foliaceous - Like a leaf.
Follicle - A dehiscent fruit opening along a single suture. Arising from a simple pistil.
Fornices - Plural of Fornix; small scalelike appendages at the apex of a corolla tube. Often seen in the Boraginaceae.
Fruit - A mature ovary, not just that stuff you buy in the produce section of Price Chopper.
Fugacious - Wilting and falling early or quickly.
Funnelform - Shape (usually of a corolla) in which a tube gradually opens upward and outward, like a funnel.
Fusiform - Shaped like a spindle.
Gamopetalous - With the petals united, referring to a corolla.
Gamosepalous - Wanna guess? With the sepals united.
Gibbous - Swollen only on one side, typically near or at the base.
Glabrate - Almost glabrous.
Glabrous - Without hairs, smooth.
Gland - A structure which secretes or houses fluid.
Glaucous - With a whitish or grayish covering that can be rubbed off.
Globose - Rounded. Like a ball.
Glochid - A bristle or hair with barbs at its apex. The barbs often minute and best viewed with a scope or lens.
Glochidiate - Bearing glochids. Often seen in the genus Opuntia from the Cactaceae.
Glutinous - With a sticky secretion.
Gynoecium - Collectively, the female parts(organs) of a flower.
Hastate - Shaped like an arrowhead but with the basal lobes perpendicular to the main axis, such as the midrib of a leaf.
Head - A cluster of flowers.
Herbaceous - Non-woody.
Hippocrepiform - You shouldn't need this word on this web site but it was one of my favorites from school so I had to include it. The word means horseshoe-shaped.
Hirsute - With many stiff hairs.
Hispid - With stiff, bristly, rigid hairs.
Hispidulous - As above but with tiny hairs.
Horn - An appendage of a sepal or petal, usually terete in cross section, elongated, and tapering. Much like a horn from a bovine!
Hybrid - An individual arising from the cross of two different species.
Hypanthium - A tubular or cuplike receptacle on which the stamens, petals, and sepals are borne.
Imbricate - Alternately overlapping, like roof shingles.
Imperfect - (Of flowers) Being either staminate or pistillate but not both.
Incised - Sharply cut or cut irregularly.
Included - Not projecting from an organ or structure. Not exserted.
Indehiscent - Not opening along valves or sutures when mature.
Indeterminate - (Inflorescence) - Inflorescence in which the lower flowers open first.
Indusium - (In ferns) An outgrowth which completely or partially covers the sori or sporangia.
Inferior - Usually referring to an ovary which is situated below the floral parts in the receptacle.
Inflated - Inflated, like a balloon. Not flat. I don't know how else to describe this word.
Inflorescence - The portion of the plant which contains the flowers and all the parts associated with flowering. The arrangement of the flowering parts.
Inserted - Attached to.
Internode - Portion of the stem between the nodes.
Involucre - (Pronounced "In - voh - lew - ker"). A series or set of bracts surrounding a flower cluster or single flower, sometimes just one bract surrounding a flower cluster. Seen in, but not exclusive to, the Asteraceae.
Involute - Rolled inward.
Irregular - (Pertaining to a corolla) not all the petals of the same size and shape. Unequal. Not all similar.
Keel - 1.) A ridge. 2.) The two lower petals of a papilionaceous flower from the Fabaceae.
Labiate - Lipped.
Lacerate - Looking torn or cut irregularly.
Lamina - The expanded portion(of a blade, petal, etc.).
Lanate - Wooly, with long intertwined hairs.
Lanceolate - Lance-head shaped, broadest near base and tapering to apex.
Lateral - On the side.
Leaflet - One portion of a compound leaf.
Legume - (Of the Fabaceae) A dry, dehiscent fruit, separating on two sutures.
Lepidote - With small scales.
Ligneous - Woody.
Ligulate - Strap-like or ribbon-like corolla from the Asteraceae. Example - A ray flower corolla.
Limb - The expanded part of a gamopetalous corolla.
Linear - Long, narrow, sides parallel.
Locule - A cavity, in plants - usually referring to an ovary, cell, or anther.
Loment - From the Fabaceae, a fruit divided into one seeded segments, usually laterally flattened.
Lunate - Crescent shaped.
Lyrate - Pinnatifid, the terminal lobe much larger than the lower ones. Example - The Brassica leaf at the bottom of many of these pages.
Maculate - Mottled in appearance, blotched.
Malpighian hair (trichome) - Short, straight hairs which are connected other than at the base (usually in the middle) and taper to the ends.
Mealy - With a covering of tiny granules.
Median - Middle.
-merous - Referring to the number of parts. Example - 4-merous, flowers with 4 petals and 4 sepals.
Midrib - The main median vein in a leaf or leaflet.
Monodelphous - Stamens in a flower with their filaments united into a (single) tube.
Moniliform - Constricted at regular intervals, resembling a string of beads.
Monoecious - A single plant bearing both staminate and pistillate flowers.
Monopodial - A single axis.
Mucro - A short, sharp, abrupt point, for example at the tip of a leaf.
Muricate - With small, spiny, hard projections.
Muticous - Blunt, with no point.
Napiform - (roots) Shaped like a turnip.
Nectary - The organ producing nectar.
Nerve - A simple (unbranched) vein.
Node - Point on stem where leaves are borne.
Nut - A hard, one-celled, indehiscent fruit.
Ob - Latin prefix meaning inverted(backwards), reversed, or upside-down. Used in such botanical words as Obcordate, Oblanceolate, Obconical, Obovate, etc.
Oblique - Unequal-sided. Slanting.
Oblong - Sides nearly parallel, longer than broad.
Obtuse - Rounded or blunt at tip(apex).
Ocrea - A sheath, usually surrounding the stem at a node, formed by the fusion of two stipules.
Opposite - Two at a node, on different(opposing) sides of the axis.
Orbicular - Circular.
Oval - Oval.
Ovary - The portion of the pistil which becomes the fruit and contains the ovules (seeds).
Ovate - Egg-shaped(outline, two dimensions). Broader below the middle, rounded at ends.
Ovoid - Egg-shaped(solid in three dimensions).
Ovule - The body which becomes the seed after fertilization.
Pallid - Pale in color.
Palmate - Lobed or veined in a palm or hand-like fashion. Example - The leaf of Ricinus communis.
Pandurate - Fiddle-shaped.
Panicle - An irregularly compound, branching, racemose or corymbose inflorescence.
Pannose - With the texture or appearance of woven wool or wool cloth.
Papilionaceous - A typical pea-like flower with a standard, wing, and keel petals. Example - The flower of Lathyrus latifolius. (Butterfly-like).
Papilla - Small, pimplelike projections or bumps.
Pappus - A modified calyx seen in the Asteraceae, at the summit of an achene.
Patelliform - Disk-shaped.
Pectinate - Pinnatifid with linear, close, comblike divisions.
Pedate - Palmately divided where the two side(lateral) lobes are divided again.
Pedicel - A single flower stalk.
Peduncle - The stalk of a flower cluster or of a single flower if that flower is the only one in the inflorescence.
Pellucid - Almost transparent.
Peltate - (Leaves) With the petiole attached at or near the center of a leaf and not at the margin. Examples are the leaves of Hydrocotyle and Nelumbo.
Pendent - Hanging down, from a support.
Penicillate - Brushlike.
Pepo - A fruit with a thick, leathery skin (rind) and a soft, fleshy interior. Example - A cucumber.
Perfect - Bearing both functional stamens and pistils in the same flower.
Perfoliate - A sessile leaf whose base completely surrounds the stem, where the stem appears to pass through the leaf.
Perianth - The calyx and corolla, not including the stamens and pistils.
Pericarp - The wall of a fruit (or ovary).
Perigynous - Borne around the ovary, not beneath it.
Petal - One division (part) of the corolla.
Petiole - A leaf stalk.
Petiolule - The stalk of a leaflet (from a compound leaf).
Phyllary - An involucral bract.
Pilose - With long, soft hairs.
Pinna - A primary (first) leaflet or division in a compound leaf.
Pinnate - Feather-like, a compound leaf with leaflets on both sides of the axis.
Pinnatifid - (leaves), Divided nearly, but not to, the midrib. Some leaf tissue remaining between divisions.
Pinnule - A secondary leaflet or division in a compound leaf.
Pistil - The female portion of a flower bearing ovary, style, and stigma.
Pistillate - A female flower, with no stamens, or stamens which are not pollen producing.
Pith - The spongy center of a stem, composed of parenchyma cells.
Plumose - Featherlike in appearance.
Prickle - A small, spikelike outgrowth of the epidermis.
Primocane - First seasons growth (stems). Useful in identifying the genus Rubus.
Procumbent - Lying flat (on ground) but not taking root.
Prostrate - Lying flat (on ground).
Puberulent - With some soft, short hairs.
Pubescent - With dense, soft, short hairs. This term is also used generally to describe any plant with a hairiness.
Pulvinus - (pl. pulvini) A swelling at the base of the leaf petiole, characteristic of plants in the Fabaceae.
Punctate - With clear, translucent, or colored dots or pits.
Pyriform - Pear-shaped.
Pyxis - A capsule which dehisces circumscissilely (with the top coming off as one part like a lid). Seen in the genus Portulaca.
Quadrate - Almost square.
Raceme - A simple, elongated inflorescence with pedicillate flowers.
Rachis - The axis of a compound leaf or the primary axis of an inflorescence.
Radiate - 1.) Spreading from a common center. 2.) In the Asteraceae, a flower head with strap shaped corollas (rays).
Ray - A strap or ribbonlike floret from flower heads of the Asteraceae.
Receptacle - The portion of the pedicel which gives rise to the flowering parts.
Reclinate - Bent or turned downward.
Recurved - Bent or curved backward or downward.
Reflexed - Abruptly bent or curved backward or downward.
Regular - (flowers), 1.) With all the flowering parts like each other. All the petals alike, all the sepals alike, etc... 2.) Uniform. 3.) Radially symetrical. 4.) Without a need for Ex-Lax.
Reniform - Kidney-shaped.
Repent - Prostrate and rooting at nodes.
Replum - In the Brassicaceae, the partition between the two halves of the fruit.
Resupinate - (flowers), Twisted a half turn (180 degrees), upside down.
Reticulate - Forming a network pattern, like a fishing net.
Retrorse - Turned backward or downward.
Retuse - With a small notch at the tip.
Revolute - (leaves),With margins rolled under.
Rhizome - An underground, typically horizontal, stem which roots at nodes.
Rhombic - Diamond-shaped. (Remember geometry?)
Rib - A prominent vein or nerve.
Rosette - (usually leaves), A cluster in a circular arrangement.
Rostrate - With a beak.
Rotate - Wheel shaped.
Rufous - Reddish-brown.
Rugose - Wrinkled.
Runcinate - Sharply toothed with the teeth pointing backwards.
Saccate - Bag-shaped.
Sagittate - Shaped like an arrowhead. Basically triangular but with two basal lobes pointing in the opposite direction as the tip(apex) of the leaf.
Salient - Projecting forward.
Salverform - (corolla), With a slender tube and an abruptly expanded limb.
Samara - A winged, indehiscent fruit. Example - The seeds of the genus Acer.
Scabrid(Scabridulous) - Slightly rough to the touch.
Scabrous - Rough to the touch.
Scale - (In plants), Small, appressed leaves, or bracts.
Scandent - Climbing without the use of tendrils.
Scape - A flowering stem with no leaves which arises from the ground or near ground level.
Scarious - Thin, dry, membranelike, not green.
Scrotiform - Pouchlike.
Scurfy - With scalelike particles on surface.
Scutellum - A protrusion of the calyx in some members of the Lamiaceae, genus Scutellaria.
Secund - Directed or borne on one side (of axis).
Sepal - One unique division of the calyx.
Septate - Divided by partitions.
Septum - A partition.
Seriate - Arranged in a series, such as a series of rows or whorls.
Sericeous - Silky.
Serrate - Saw-toothed, with sharp, forward pointing teeth.
Serrulate - Minutely serrate.
Sessile - Lacking a stalk.
Seta - A bristle.
Setulose - With minute bristles.
Sheath - A tube-shaped structure which surrounds another structure or organ.
Sigmoid - Shaped like an "S".
Silicle - A silique which is nearly round, almost as long as broad.
Silique - A dry, dehiscent fruit divided by a septum.
Simple - (leaf), Undivided, not compound or lobed.
Sinuate - With a deeply wavy margin.
Sinus - The area or space between two lobes of a leaf blade, corolla, or any other single-plane, expanded organ.
Sorus(Sori) - A cluster of sporangia on a fern frond.
Spadix - An inflorescence of small, clustered flowers with a fleshy axis with an accompanying bract. Example - The inflorescence of Arisaema.
Spathe - The bract accompanying the cluster of flowers in a spadix.
Spatulate - Spoon-shaped.
Spicate - Arranged in a spike.
Sporangium - Spore case.
Spur - An appendage, from a petal or sepal, which is typically tubular and sometimes hooked or sickle- shaped and subulate. Example - The appendage present at the base of the corolla of Impatiens capensis.
Squarrose - With parts spreading or recurved at the ends.
Stamen - The "male" portion of the flower composed of a filament and pollen bearing anther.
Staminate - (flowers), With functional stamens. Can also include pistils but they must be non-functional.
Staminode - A sterile stamen.
Standard - Upright, usually largest, petal of a papilionaceous flower from the Fabaceae.
Stellate - Star-shaped or shaped like a starfish or brittlestar.
Stigma - The terminating portion of a pistil which collects the pollen.
Stipe - The leaf stalk (petiole) of a fern frond, or the stalk of a pistil. Generally a stalk.
Stipel - The stipule of a leaflet.
Stipitate - On a stipe.
Stipule - An appendage at the base of a petiole, typically in pairs, one on each side of the axis. Sometimes leaflike, sometimes scalelike.
Stolon - A basal branch, horizontal in nature, which roots at the nodes or tip.
Striate - Having longitudinal or vertical lines, nerves or ridges.
Strigose - Having sharp, straight, stiff, appressed hairs.
Strigillose - Minutely strigose.
Style - The portion of the pistil between the ovary and stigma, usually elongated.
Stylopodium - A disklike expansion(enlargment) at the base of a style, found commonly in the Apiaceae.
Subtend - Positioned under and close to.
Subulate - Awl-shaped. Tapering toward the apex.
Succulent - Fleshy, thickened, juicy internally.
Suffrutescent(Suffruticose) - Woody below but herbaceous above.
Sulcate - Grooved lengthwise.
Superior(ovary) - The position of an ovary which is situated above the insertion of the perianth.
Sucker - 1.)A shoot arising from basal portion or roots of a woody plant. 2.) A chump that will fall for anything.
Surculose - Producing suckers.
Suture - A line or "seam" of dehiscence.
Tendril - A twining organ used for climbing and clinging. Found in the Vitaceae, Smilacaceae, etc... Usually opposite or accompanying a leaf.
Tepal - A portion of the perianth which cannot be clearly designated as petal or sepal.
Terete - Circular in cross section.
Terminal - At the end of. At the tip.
Ternate - In 3's. Divided 3 times.
Theca - The pollen "sac" of an anther.
Throat - The opening of a gamopetalus corolla.
Thryse - An inflorescence of a compound, compact panicle.
Tomentose - With dense, matted, soft hairs.
Torulose - Knobby or twisted.
Trichome - A hair or bristle borne on the epidermis. The pubescence of a plant refers to its trichomes.
Trifoliolate - Having three leaflets.
Truncate - Straight across(or nearly so) at base or apex.
Tuber - A typically underground storage organ with many buds. Example - A potato.
Turbinate - Top-shaped, inversely conical.
Turgid - Swollen, firm from internal pressure.
Umbel - An inflorescence in which the pedicels all arise from a single common point. Seen much in the Apiaceae.
Umbellet - A secondary, smaller, umbel.
Umbo - A conical projection from the surface. This is the name of the "hump" on the shells(valves) of many bivalves(clams, mussels, etc...).
Uncinate - Hooked at the tip.
Uncinulate - With small hooks. Minutely uncinate.
Undulate - Wavy.
Unisexual - Containing either staminate (male) or pistillate (female) reproductive parts, but not both.
Urceolate - Urn-shaped.
Urticle - A small indehiscent fruit with a thin pericarp that is free from the single seed within.
Valve - A unit into which a capsule divides. One of the two areas between two lines of dehiscence of a capsule.
Vein - Typically visible vascular tissue.
Velutinous - Like velvet. Covered with small soft hairs which spread but are not tangled.
Verticil - A whorl.
Villous - With long, soft, unmatted hairs.
Virgate - Shaped like a staff or wand; long, slender, and straight.
Viscid - Sticky.
Whorl - Arrangement of three or more organs such as leaves or branches around an axis (stem) at the same node.
Wing - 1.) A thin, flat (or nearly so) expansion of an organ. 2.) The two lateral petals of a papilionaceous flower from the Fabaceae.
Zygomorphic - Irregular. With bilateral symmetry. Divisible into equal halves only in one plane.