Glossary of Botanical Terms

Achene. A small, dry one-seeded fruit, also known as a nutlet.

Acuminate. Contracted to a narrow point.

Acute. Tapering evenly to a point.

Androgynous. Both male and female flowers in the same spike, with male flowers above female flowers.

Anther. Part of the stamen that contains pollen.

Antrorse. Directed forward or upwards.

Apex. The top or highest part of something.

Ascending. Growing upward.

Auricle. Ear-shaped appendage or lobe.

Awn. Hair or bristle-like appendage.

Basal. Positioned at or rising from the base.

Beak. Firm, prolonged tip.

Bisexual. A flower with both male and female parts.

Blade. Expanded portion of leaf or bract.

Bract. Modified leaf, typically at the base of an inflorescence. 

Bracteole. Secondary, or smaller, bract.

Cauline. On or of the stem (ex. leaves growing off the stem).

Ciliate. Fringe of hairs on the margin.

Clone. A plant originating from a single parent by asexual reproduction.

Compound. Composed of two or more similar parts united into a whole.

Conical. Having the shape of a cone.

Culm. The stem of a sedge, grass, or rush.

Cylindrical. Having the shape of a cylinder. 

Decurrent. Extending below point of attachment.

Distal. Towards the tip or end of structure, away from point of attachment. 

Divergent. Diverging or spreading.

Dorsal. Back part of an organ.

Excurrent. Extending beyond the apex.

Exserted. Projecting beyond an enclosed structure.

Fibrous. Having or consisting of fibers.

Filament. Part of the stamen that supports the anther.

Filiform. Threadlike.

Glabrous. Hairless.

Glomerule. Dense cluster of flowers, spikelets, or other structures.

Gynecandrous. Both male and female flowers in the same spike, with female flowers above male flowers.

Hyaline. Transparent or translucent.

Inflorescence. Flowering portion of the plant.

Internode. Portion of a culm or rhizome that occurs between two nodes.

Involucre. Bracts which subtend a flower of and inflorescence. 

Involute. Rolled inward from then edges.

Lax. Not rigid.

Ligule. Thin membranous outgrowth from summit of leaf sheath onto base of the blade.

Node. Place on a culm, stem, or rhizome where a leaf originates, usually marked by a hard swelling.

Ovary. Part of the female reproductive system located below the styles

Ovate. A plane symmetrical figure having an oval like shape.

Ovoid. Ovate but in three dimensions; egg shaped

Panicle. Branched influence with pedicellate (see pedicel) flowers.

Papillae. Small, nipple-shaped protuberances.

Papillose. Having papillae.

Pedicel. The stalk of an individual flower within an inflorescence.

Peduncle. The stalk of a solitary flower, spike, or inflorescence.

Perigynium (plural Perigynia). A saclike structure enclosing the female flower (achene) in the genus Carex. Could be referred to as the "fruit", although not entirely correct.

Pistillate. Female part.

Proximal. Toward the base or end of structure of which it is attached.

Pubescent. Having hairs.

Reflexed. Bent abruptly downwards or backwards. 

Retrorse. Directed backwards or downwards. 

Rhizome. An underground stem.

Scabrous. Rough to the touch.

Scale. Thin, membranous structure associated with the flowers in Cyperaceae. 

Serrate. Sawlike; toothed along the margin

Sessile. Attacted directly by the base without a stalk.

Sheath. Portion of a leaf or bract that encloses the stem.

Spike. A form of a simple inflorescence with flowers.

Spikelet. A small or secondary spike.

Spreading. Growing outwards.

Stamen. Male reproductive organ of a flower.

Staminate. Male part.

Sterile. Lacking reproductive organs.

Stigma. Part of the female reproductive organ that receives pollen.

Stolon. Aboveground, horizontal stem.

Style. Portion of female reproductive organ which connects the stigma to the ovary.

Subtend. Immediately below.

Terete. Round in cross-section.

Terminal. Situated at the end or extremity of something.

Trigonous. Three-sided in cross-section.

Tuber. Enlarged portion of an underground stem (rhizome) that stores food.

Tubercle. Small protuberance.

Tussock. Specialized growth form in which the growth of roots and rhizomes forms dense column rising above the ground.  

Umbel. Flat-topped or convex inflorescence with pedicels arising from a common point. 

Vegetative. Plants lacking flowers, fruits, or other reproductive organs. 

Vein. Vascular bundle.

Ventral. Front part of an organ.