Glossary of Botanical Terms

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Term
Pronunciation
Definition
Image
AGASTACHE

(a-guhSTAH-kee)

(hyssop) long flowering, aromatic, herbaceous perennial herb.

ALATA

(uh-LAY-tuh)

Winged.

ALBA

(AL-buh)

White. Ex. Chelone alba has white flowers.

ALLEGHENIENSIS

(al-leh-GEH-nee-EN-siss)

Growing in the Alleghenies.

ALNIFOLIA

(al-nih-FO-lee-uh)

Leaves like an Alder. Alder-leaved.

AMPLEXICAULIS

(am-plek-sih-KAWL-iss)

Stem clasping.

ANGIOSPERM

(an-jee-o-SPURM)

ANGUSTIFOLIUS

(an-gus-ti-FO-lee-us)

Narrow-leaved.

ANTHRACNOSE

(an-THRAK-nohs)

Any of a number of fungal diseases of plants, characterized by dark lesions. Often very destructive. Ex. Dogwood anthracnose.

APHID

(AY-fid)

Any of numerous small, soft-bodied insects that suck juices from the stems and leaves of various types of plants. 

AQUATICA

(uh-KWAT-ih-kuh)

Growing in or near water.

AQUIFOLIUM

(a-kwih-FO-lee-um)

Holly-leaved

ARBOREA

(ahr-BO-ree-uh)

Tree-like. Resembling a tree. Woody.

ARBORESCENS

(ahr-bo-RES-enz)

Tree-like. Resembling a tree. Woody.

ARBUTIFOLIA

(ar-byoo-tih-FO-lee-uh)

Arbutus-leaved. Leaves like arbutus.

ATERNIFOLIA

(al-ter-nih-FO-lee-uh)

Alternate-leaved.

ATROPURPUREA

(at-ro-pur-PYUR-ree-uh)

Dark purple. As in having dark purple leaves.

ATTENUATA

(at-ten-yoo-Ay-tuh)

Slenderly tapering to a point.

AUSTRALIS

(aws-Tray-liss or aws-TRAW-liss)

Southern. As in native to the southern U.S.

AUTUMNALIS

(aw-tum-NAY-lee)

Autumnal or occurring in autumn.

AXIL

(AK-sil)

The angle between the upper side of a leaf and the stem or branch from which it is growing.

AXILLARY

(AK-sih-lehr-ee)

In, or growing from an axil.

BICOLOR

(BY-kuh-lur)

Having two colors. As in Quercus bicolor, a species of oak, in which the upper and lower leaf surfaces are different colors.

BIENNIAL

(by-EN-ee-al)

A plant that lives for two years, flowering the second year.

BOREALIS

(bor-ee-AY-liss)

Northern.

BRACT

(BRAKT)

A modified leaf, positioned bellow a flower or inflorescence. Bracts are sometimes larger than the true flower, as in the showy white or pink bracts of a dogwood.

BUXIFOLIUS

(buk-sih-FO-lee-us)

Box-leaved.

CALYX

(KAY-liks)

The outermost portion of a flower, enclosing the petals and forming a protective layer in bud.

Comprised of the sepals.

CAMPANULATE

(kam-PAN-yoo-layt)

Bell-shaped (flower).

CANADENSIS

(kan-a-DEN-siss)

From Canada. A species indigenous to or strongly associated with Canada. This does not however mean that the native range is limited to Canada. For instance, the native range of Cercis canadensis is from southern Ontario south to Texas and into Mexico.

CARDINALIS

(kahr-dih-NAY-liss)

Cardinal (red). As in Lobelia cardinalis.

CATKIN

(KAT-kin)

Cylindrical flower cluster composed of flowers of a single sex. Usually pendulous. Typically wind-pollinated but sometimes insect-pollinated (as in Salix). Trees bearing catkins include birch, oak & willow.

CONIFER

(KO-nih-fur or KON-ih-fur)

A cone-bearing tree or shrub. Most species are evergreen but some, such as Bald Cypress (Taxodium sp.) are deciduous. 

COTYLEDON

(kot-ih-LEE-dun)

First leaf or leaves to appear from a germinating seed.

CYME

(SIGHM)

Flat-topped flower cluster.

DENDROLOGY

(den-DROL-o-jee)

The study of trees.

DICOTYLEDON

(dy-kot-ih-LEE-don)

DIOECIOUS

(dy-EE-shus)

Male and female flowers occurring on separate plants.

DRUPE

(dryoop)

(or stone fruit) A fruit with a thin outer skin surrounding a fleshy layer with a central stone containing the seed. e.g., a cherry.

ELEGANS

(EL-eh-ganz)

Elegant, beautiful.

ENTIRE

(en-TIRE)

Without teeth or division. i.e., a smooth leaf margin.

ENTOMOLOGY

(en-toh-MAH-lo-jee)

The study of insects.

ERICACEOUS

(er-ih-KAY-shus)

Relating to or denoting plants of the heath family. includes rhododendron, azalea and arbutus.

EXALTATA

(eks-awl-TAY-tuh)

Extremely tall.

FILAMENTOSA

(fil-uh-men-TOH-suh)

Thread-like.

FLORIDUS

(FLO-rih-dus)

Flowering freely.

FRAGRANS

(FRAY-granz)

Fragrant.

GENUS

(JEE-nus)

A group of related species. As in the genus rhododendron.

GLABRA

(GLAY-bruh)

Smooth. Without hairs

GLAUCA

(GLAW-kuh)

With white or gray bloom, as on blue spruce needles.

GRANDIFLORUS

(gran-dih-FLOR-us)

Large flowered.

GYMNOSPERM

(JIM-no-sperm)

HERBACEOUS

(hur-BAY-shus)

Plants lacking a persistent woody stem above ground.

HIRTA

(HUR-tuh)

Hairy.

HORTICULTURE

(HOR-tih-kul-tyur)

The science and art of growing plants - fruits, vegetables, flowers, or ornamental plants.

HYSSOPIFOLIA

(hiss-o-pih-FO-lee-uh)

With hyssop-like leaves.

INCARNATUS

(in-kahr-NAY-tus)

Flesh-colored.

INFLORESCENCE

(in-flo-RESS-enz)

The complete flower head of a plant including all related parts.

JUGLANS

(JOO-glanz)

Walnut, butternut - trees of the genus Juglans.

LAEVIS

(LEE-viss)

Smooth.

LANCEOLATA

(lan-see-o-LAY-tuh)

Lance-shaped as in the lance-shaped leaves of Coreopsis lanceolata.

LATIFOLIUS

(lat-ih-FO-lee-us)

Broad-leaved.

LEGUME

(LEG-yoom or le-GYOOM)

Plant of the Pea family or the long seedpod of a leguminous plant (peas, beans etc.).

LUTEUS

(LYOO-tee-us)

Yellow.

MACULATUS

(mak-yoo-LAY-tus)

Spotted.

MACULOSA

(mak-yoo-LO-suh)

Spotted.

MAJOR

(MAY-jor)

Greater, larger.

MARIANA

(mayr-ee-AY-nuh)

Maryland.

MARILANDICUS

(mayr-ih-LAN-dih-kus)

Of the Maryland region; also written marylandicus.

MARITIMUS

(muh-RIT-ih-mus)

Of the sea or shore.

MICROPHYLLA

(my-kro-FIL-uh)

Small-leaved.

MINOR

(MY-nor)

Smaller.

MONOECIOUS

(mo-NEE-shus)

Having the stamens and the pistils in separate flowers on the same plant (male and female flowers). 

NANA

(NAN-uh)

Dwarf.

NIGRA

(NY-gruh)

Black.

NOVAE-ANGLIAE

(no-vee-AN-glih-ee or no-veh-AN-glih-ee)

Of New England.

NOVI-BELGI

(no-vih-BEL-jy)

Of New York.

NUDUM

(NYOO-dum)

Bare, naked.

NUTANS

(NYOO-tanz)

Noodding.

OBLONGIFOLIA

(ab-long-ih-FO-lee-uh)

Ablong-leaved.

OCCIDENTALIS

(ok-sih-den-TAY-liss)

Coming from the west (new world). As in Platanus occidentalis - the American Sycamore.

ODORATUS

(o-dor-AY-tus)

Fragrant.

OFFICINALIS

(o-fiss-ih-NAY-liss)

Medicinal.

PANICLE

(PAN-ih-kul)

A loose branching cluster of flowers.

PENDULOUS

(PEN-dyoo-lus)

Hanging down loosely, as in pendulous branches or flowers.

PENSYLVANICUM

(pen-sil-VAY-nih-kum)

Of, or from Pennsylvania.

PERFOLIATUS

(pehr-fo-lee-AY-tus)

A leaf, having a base that completely encloses the stem, so that the stem appears to be passing through the leaf.

PETIOLE

(PET-ee-ohl)

The stalk that attaches the leaf blade to a stem; leafstalk.

PHLOEM

(FLO-em)

PROSTRATUS

(pross-TRAY-tus)

Lying flat.

PRUNIFOLIUM

(proo-nih-FO-lee-um)

PRUNUS

(PROO-nus)

Plum, cherry.

PUBESCENS

(pyoo-BESS-enz)

Covered with short soft hair; downy.

PURPURASCENS

(pur-pur-ASS-enz)

Becoming purple.

PURPUREA

(pur-PYOO-ree-uh)

Purple.

RACEME

(ruh-SEEM or ray-SEEM)

A simple inflorescence, with the separate flowers attached by short equal stalks at equal distances along a single stem. The flowers develop from the base upward.

RACEMOSUS

(ra-seh-MO-sus or ra-see-MO-sus)

ROTUNDIFOLIUS

(ro-tun-dih-FO-lee-us)

Round-leaved.

SALICIFOLIA

(sal-iss-ih-FO-lee-uh)

Leaves like that of a willow.

SAMARA

(SAM-uh-ruh or suh-MAY-ruh)

Winged fruit containing one seed, as in ash and maple.

SCANDENS

(SKAN-denz)

Climbing.

SEMPERVIRENS

(sem-pur-VY-renz)

Evergreen.

SEPALS

(SEE-pal or SEP-al)

One of the modified leaves that collectively form the calyx. Typically green and occurring in the same number as the petals. Together they protect the flower in bud and may support the petals when in bloom.

STAMEN

(STAY-men)

Male organ in flowers; bears pollen.

STAMINATE

(STAM-ih-nayt)

(of a flower) having stamens and no pistil.

STERILE

(STER-il)

Not fertile.

STIPULE

(STIP-yool)

A small, leaf-like appendage at the base of the petiole of a leaf. Typically occurring in pairs.

STOLON

(STO-lon)

A prostrate stem, at or just below the surface of the ground, that develops roots at nodes along its length and produces new plants.

STOLONIFEROUS

(sto-lon-IF-ur-us)

SYLVATICUS

(sil-VAT-ih-kus)

Forest loving.

TRIFOLIATE

(try-FO-lee-o-layt)

Having three leaflets.

TUBEROSA

(too-bur-O-suh)

Bearing tubers, as in Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed).

TURGID

(TUR-jid)

Full of water.

ULIGINOSUS

(yoo-lih-jih-NO-sus or yoo-lij-ih-NO-sus)

Of wet or marshy places.

UMBEL

(UM-bel)

Flower cluster with stems originating from the same point.

VERNALIS

(vur-NAY-liss or vur-NAL-iss)

Of spring.

VERTICILLATA

(vur-tih-sih-LAY-tuh)

In circles around stem, whorled, as in Ilex verticillata or Asclepias verticillata.

VIRGINIANA

(vur-jin-ee-AY-nuh)

From Virginiana, as in Magnolia virginiana.

WHORL

(HWURL or HWORL)

Leaves, fruit etc., in a circle around a stem.

XANTHOCARPUS

(zan-tho-KAHR-pus)

Yellow-fruited, as in Ilex opaca f. xanthocarpa

XYLEM

(Zy-lum or Zy-lem)