Botany Words

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-

-aceae
plant family suffix.
-phyta
g. plants
-trophic
concerned with growth

A

Abaxial
side or face away from the axis e.g. lower (under or dorsal) surface of leaf
Achene
small, dry, hard single-seeded fruit;
Acicular
needle-like
Actino
sun
Actinomorphic
radially symmetrical (like sun's rays)
Aculeate
prickly
Acuminate
leaf tip tapering to a long drawn-out point
Acute
sharply pointed leaf tip; often ending in a sharp point
Adnate
stuck to - connected to another part throughout its whole length (as in base of pinna to a rachis)
Adventitious
roots may arise from stems; adventitious shoots may develop on stems rather than from leaf axils. such buds grow from pieces of meristematic tissue left be-hind as the plant grows. cells in this region divide rapidly causing the roots or shoots to develop.
Aerobic
relating to or requiring free oxygen
Alae
thin expansions on the edges of seeds that aid in wind dispersal
Algae
simple plant-like organisms with no roots, stems or leaves, making their own food by photosynthesis (singular: alga)
Allo-
other
Alternate
(leaves) occur singly on opposite sides of stem
Alternation
of generations life cycle occurring in plants such as ferns and mosses where an asexually reproducing generation alternates with a sexually reproducing generation which involves two different forms of a plant. it is necessary for the plant to go through both stages in order to reach maturity.
Alveoli
small pits dotted over the surface of the receptacle in which florets are seated
Anaerobic
without air
Anastomose
form a network
Anastomosing
forming a network
Anatomy
study of structure
Androecium
stamens (male reproductive organs) - consisting of anther and filament
Anemophilous
(pollination) by wind
Angiosperm
flowering plant with seeds enclosed within an ovary that becomes the fruit
Animal
being having life, feeling, power of voluntary movement
Annual
plant completing its life cycle in one year
Annulus
ring
Anterior
towards the front
Anther
pollen-bearing top end of stamen (male reproductive organ) - this structure is lobed and hollow, containing masses of pollen grains that are released when the anther splits or dehisces. the anther is borne on a stalk or filament.
Antheridium
structure that produces motile male sperms (ferns, mosses)
Anthesis
period when pollen is shed and fertilisation of the ovary occurs; when flower is open for pollen transfer
Anthophyta
the angiosperms - flowering plants
Apetalous
flowers that do not bear petals. often wind pollinated, they do not need to attract insects and the stamens and stigma usually protrude from the flower.
Apiaceae
family formerly known as umbelliferae
Apical
at apex or tip
Apocarpous
(ovary) separate carpels each with own style
Archegonium
the structure which produces the female egg (ferns, mosses)
Aridity
dryness; relates to low rainfall
Aril
fleshy outgrowth around the seed, often red bird-attracting, surrounding the carpel; fleshy part of the coat of a seed - arising from seed stalk or surface of seed
Aristate
having a long bristle-like point
Aromatic
scented with a distinct smell when crushed
Articles
jointed ripe seed pods which break off easily
Articulate
having a joint; as in a single foliate leaf where there is a swelling at the junction of the leaf-blade and the petiole
Ascomycetes
division of fungi (includes the lichens)
Asexual
reproduction form of reproduction that does not involve the mixing of genetic information via male and female gametes.
Asteraceae
family formerly known as compositae
Asymmetrical
not equal or balanced; having an irregular shape.
Attenuate
leaf base tapering
Auricle
ear-like appendage
Awn
slender bristle-like projection at the end, on the back, or on the edge, of an organ. in grasses it is usually a continuation of the mid-rib of one or other of the floral organs.
Axial
of, relating to, or forming an axis; located on, around or along an axis
Axil
the angle between an organ of a plant and its main axis. e.g. leaf and stem; mid-vein and lateral veins
Axile
a form of placentation where the ovules are attached to the central axis of the ovary
Axillary
developing in angle between leaf and stem
Axis
plant stem; the line of growth of a stem or any of its branching parts that carry flowers, other branches or leaves

B

Barb
sharp spine-like hook which is bent backwards
Bark
outer covering of stem or root; tough outer skin of a woody plant
Basal
growing at the base of the stem
Basidiomycetes
division of fungi (includes mushrooms, toadstools, puff balls, etc.)
Basifixed
attached at base
Beard
tuft of hair
Bearded
covering of long or stiff hairs on a flower or seed head
Berm
protective mound or bank
Berry
type of fruit - succulent, entire with outer skin surrounding a pulpy layer containing one or more seeds, not splitting open when ripe e.g. grape
Bi-
two
Bi-labiate
two-lipped
Bi-pinnate
twice pinnately divided compound leaf arrangement; of leaves or fronds twice divided in a pinnate manner
Bi-sexual
hermaphrodite - stamens and pistil on same flower
Biennial
plant that lives for two growing seasons, germinating and growing in the first and producing seeds in the second and then dying
Blade
flattened structure of leaf formed by thin layers of cells between the veins.
Bloom
waxy powdery coating
Bole
trunk of tree up to the first branch
Boreal
northern
Bracket
fruiting body of a fungus formed on the trunk or branch of a tree or shrub
Bracteoles
leaf-like structures; small, usually green, bracts
Bracts
stem leaves merged with the lobes of the calyx - modified leaf surrounding a flower; a modified leaf which surrounds or encloses a flower or group of small individual flowers; a leaf-like or scale-like structure at the base of a flower or inflorescence
Branch
lateral stem
Branchlets
small stems arising from branch
Bryophyta
plants with leaves and stems but no true roots (mosses and liverworts)
Bud
undeveloped shoot protected by scales
Budding
method of vegetative reproduction
Bulb
shortened underground stem that stores food - made up of fleshy scales
Bulbils
secondary or small bulbs; a small bulb produced on a frond that develops into a plantlet
Buttress
extension of the base of the trunk of a tree where the trunk meets roots; may be a massive swelling or thin and elongated (plank-buttress)

C

Calyx
collective term for the sepals of a flower, sometimes persistent in the fruit; outer whorl of floral leaves, usually green but may be coloured to attract pollinators
Cambium
layer of actively dividing cells known as meristematic tissue, which increases the girth of plant stems and gives rise to the annual ring in woody stems
Campanulate
bell-shaped
Canaliculate
having a groove or channel, as in canaliculate petiole (leaf stalk)
Capitate
(inflorescence) forms a head
Capsule
(type of fruit) seed vessel; spore case; dry opening fruit of more than one carpel -develops from several ovaries joined together
Carbon
element found in all living things; plants obtain carbon from carbon dioxide during photosynthesis
Carotene
orange pigment, accessory to chlorophyll, which collects light energy
Carpel
female reproductive organ of flower usually comprising stigma, style and a single ovary.  The terms carpel and pistil are sometimes used interchangeably, but a flower may have many carpels forming one pistil.
Caryopsis
grass seed - fruit which is more than a seed as it is surrounded by a husk.
Catkin
spike of usually hanging flowers with a few stamens or a single pistil without perianth; an often drooping inflorescence (flower cluster) with stalkless, unisexual flowers along its main axis.
Caudex
grasstree trunk
Cauliflorous
referring to flowers or fruit borne on larger branches or trunk
Cauline
attached to the stem
Cell
self-contained unit of living matter which takes in energy to build itself up and reproduce.
Chlorophyll
main light-absorbing pigment in plants - absorbs red light; the catalyst which allows photosynthesis
Chloroplast
intra-cellular bodies in leaves and other green parts of plant which contain chlorophyll
Chromosome
thread-like structure occurring in pairs in cell nucleus which stores dna and passes on genetic material from one generation to the next
Classification
artificial process of organising things into groups according to their degree of evolutionary relationship
Climax
final stable community that results after a series of changes in the vegetation of a particular area
Climber
weak stemmed plant requiring supports of other plants or objects
Clone
individual produced by vegetative reproduction and genetically identical with the parent plant
Cluster
(type of inflorescence) flowers grouped together in loose, usually terminal head
Coccus
(pl. cocci) part of a schizocarp or lobed fruit
Cohesion
  sticking together; strong attraction of water molecules to each other
Column
single structure formed by fused stamens and styles in orchids
Coma
long silky hairs aiding in wind dispersal of seeds
Comose
surrounded by coma.
Complete Flower
  when calyx and corolla are both present
Composite
of the asteraceae family with many florets in a close head surrounded by a common whorl of bracts
Compound
leaf divided into two or more leaflets
Cone
reproductive structure in gymnosperms; complex system of bracts on which the naked ovule lies awaiting fertilisation by wind
Coniferophyta
the gymnosperms
Connivent
(anthers) coming together but not fused
Coppice
form multiple trunks after injury
Copse
  wood of small trees grown for periodic cutting; thicket
Cordate
heart-shaped
Coriaceous
(leaf) covered by a cuticle; having leathery leaves
Corm
thickened upright underground stem that stores food - unlike a bulb, it has no fleshy scales (crocus)
Corolla
petals together
Cortex
layer between epidermis and vascular tissue in root and stem
Corymb
type of inflorescence - flower stalks of varying lengths but each flower reaching the same level; outer flowers open first
Costa
mid-vein of pinna
Costule
midvein of laminal segments of lesser order than the pinnae
Cotyledon
seed leaf
Crenate
scalloped edges (leaf margin)
Crepuscular
refers to organisms active at dawn and/or dusk; in dim light
Cross-pollination
process in which pollen from one plant is transferred to the stigma of another plant of the same species
Crown
top part
Crustose
flat and crusty (type of lichen)
Cryptogamous
spore-producing
Cryptogams
spore producing plants
Cucullate
hooded, as in the flowers of many orchids.
Cultivar
cultivated variety - horticulturally or agriculturally produced variety or sub-species which must be propagated vegetatively to retain characteristics
Cuneate
wedge-shaped
Cuticle
hard leathery covering of leaf
Cyathium
(pl. cyathia) head of male and female flowers in the genus euphorbia grouped together to form what appears to be a single flower (poinsettia)
Cycad
gymnosperm, primitive group of plants related to conifers and bearing palm-like fronds of foliage
Cycadophyta
cycads
Cyme
(type of inflorescence) rounded arrangement of flowers in which the topmost flowers open first
Cymose
(inflorescence) tips of both the main floral branch and the lateral floral branches are terminated by flowers
Cyperaceae
(family) the sedges

D

Death
end of life of organisms that were once living
Deciduous
falls easily
Decumbent
lying on the ground with tip turned up
Decurrent
continuing down the stem; leaf whose base extends downwards along the stem and is wholly or partly fused with it.
Decussate
(leaves) opposite with each pair at right angles to the last
Dehiscent
splits (pea pods)
Deltoid
mainly used to refer to the triangular shape of leaves, generally where the base of the leaf blade is wide and tapers evenly to a point
Dentate
toothed; shaped like a tooth (leaf margins)
Desertification
turning into a desert
Detritus
fragment of dead organic material
Di-
two
Diatom
single-celled alga with silica case
Dichotomous
able to split into two; dividing or forking branch or terminal shoot
Dichotomy
division
Dicotyledon
plant with two seed leaves
Didynamous
two pairs (of stamens) of unequal length
Digitate
divided like fingers
Dimorphic
producing two forms
Dimorphous
able to produce two forms
Dioecious
male and female flowers on separate plants
Diploid
a cell that has two copies of each specific chromosome;
Discolorous
top surface of leaf different in colour from under surface.
Distal
away from the axis
Distichous
having leaves opposite, but with all arising in the same plane
Division
convenient group for classification of singular organisms with certain combinations of features common to it alone and which separates it from all other groups.
Domatia
small pit or depression on the undersurface of a leaf, in the axils of the mid-vein and lateral veins.
Dominant
species most common species in a given habitat
Double
flower having more than the natural number of petals. the extra petals are formed from stamens and, where these are completely transformed, the flower is apt to be sterile. a flower with only a few extra petals and enough stamens for fertility is de-scribed as semi-double
Drupe
(type of fruit) fleshy fruit containing one seed enclosed in a hard-walled stone that is embedded in a juicy pulp covered by an outer skin
Dune
drift of sand formed by wind

E

Echinate
(fruit) dry capsule covered in stiff bristles
Eco-system
biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment
Ecology
the science of the relationship between organisms and their environment
Ecotonal
at the edge where plant communities overlap  often species rich
Ectotrophic
used to refer to certain mycorrhizal fungi which live in association with roots of plants by forming a sheath around the roots of the host plant
Elliptic
narrow, oval, widest at the centre with rounded or pointed ends
Emarginate
(of leaves) deeply notched.
Emergent
large tree whose crown overtops the general rainforest canopy
Endemic
occurring naturally in and restricted to one particular geographic region
Endocarp
tissue that is contained at the centre of a fruit which carries the seeds. the endocarp may contain high levels of sugar or growth inhibitors which will prevent the germination of the seed until they are broken down or washed from the seed coat
Endosperm
food reserve storage tissue of seed
Endotrophic
used to refer to certain mycorrhizal fungi which live in association with the roots of plants by growing directly from the cells of the host
Energy
flow of chemical energy through an ecosystem as shown by food chains and food webs
Entire
of the margins of leaves when without teeth, lobes or divisions; complete, unbroken
Entomophilous
(pollination) by insects
Environment
physical, chemical and biological conditions that exist at a given location; sum total of external influences acting on an organism
Ephemeral
flowering plants which grow rapidly from seed, mature, produce their own seeds and die within weeks - found in harsh environments
Epi-
upon, on; over, above; around, covering
Epicalyx
extra segments present between the true sepals
Epicarp
skin of a drupe
Epicormic
(growth) occurs from dormant or adventitious buds in bark stimulated by injury, fire.
Epidermis
outer layer of cells
Epigeal
above ground level
Epipetalous
(stamens) above or on petals; attached to the petals
Epiphyte
a plant growing on another plant or object using it for support and not nourishment
Estuary
wide area at the mouth of a river subject to tidal movements
Etiolation
condition where a plant looks pale and there is elongation of the internodes with poor development of the leaves - happens when light has been suppressed
Eutrophic
habitat which is rich in nutrients for the growth of plants or other organisms. such rich growing conditions may produce excessive vegetation or populations of plants which are prone to pests or diseases
Eutrophication
process which may occur in ponds, lakes and rivers when the addition of extra nutrients causes heavy algal growth (algal bloom), especially when the nutrients are nitrogen-rich. having used up all the nutrients, the algae die and, in the process of decomposition by bacterial action, the oxygen in the water is used up so that aerobic organisms cannot survive.
Exfoliate
to peel off in layers as in the bark of certain trees
Exotic
refers to an organism that does not occur naturally in a region, but which has been introduced into the region by an external agent

F

Fabaceae
section of the family leguminosae formerly known as papilionaceae
Falcate
scythe or sickle-shaped (leaf)
Falcifolia
having sickle shaped leaves
False
fruit develops from an ovary plus other flower parts, e.g. apple
Families
related genera - end in suffix aceae
Fascicle
close cluster of flowers, stems, leaves or other similar parts
Fern
spore-producing, non-flowering plant with outer layer of cells impervious to water (cuticle), with water conductive tissue, stems and leaves. fronds often uncoil as they grow.
Fertilisation
the fusion of male and female gametes (sex cells) to produce a zygote (embryo); union of female and male reproductive cells
Fibre
strong, string-like tissue found in plants, which helps to hold them together - fibres are composed of long cells joined together, the walls of which are thick.
Fibres
are often elastic, therefore allowing plants to bend, or impregnated with lignin, which causes them to harden into wood.
Fibrous
of a root system, having roots all about the same size with no single dominant root; describing one of these roots.
Filament
stalk of anther - part of androecium
Filices
class within the division filiicophyta to which ferns belong
Filicophyta
division to which ferns belong
Flaccid
the condition of plant cells that have lost water and become soft. plant tissues are composed of cells which, when full of water, press against each other to keep the plant upright
Flagella
whip-like structures
Flora
all the different kinds or species of plants that can be found in an area
Floret
individual flower contained within an inflorescence
Floriferous
bearing numerous flowers
Flower
organ for sexual reproduction in angiosperms; modified leaves which have taken on the task of seed production; four concentric rings of structures - pistil, stamens, petals, sepals
Foliose
leafy (type of lichen)
Follicles
(type of fruit) dry indehiscent fruit that split open along one side
Food Chain
one kind of representation to show chemical energy flow from producer to consumers in an ecosystem
Forb
herbaceous plant other than grass, sedge or rush - herbage - may be annual or per-ennial
Fossil
evidence or remains of an organism that lived long ago
Frond
leaf of fern or palm
Fruit
matured ovary - seed-bearing part of plant
Fruticose
shrub-like (type of lichen)
Fungus
plant-like organisms with no chlorophyll, lacking the ability to produce their own food and feeding on living organisms or their dead remains (pl. fungi)

G

Gall
abnormal outgrowth from the root, stem, leaf or flower of a plant composed of tissue mass produced in response to infestation by a pathogen, such as insects, bacteria or fungi.
Gamete
sex cell involved in reproduction, esp. a mature sperm or egg, capable of partici-pating in fertilisation. they are haploid having only a single set of chromosomes.
Gametes
gr. husband
Gametophyte
(prothallus) sexual phase (eg ferns) producing gametes. dominant phase in life-cycle of mosses; the gametophyte is the haploid stage of a fern and makes sex cells or gametes that form new sporophytes after fertilization
Gamopetalous
petals united at base into a short tube.
Gamos
gr. marriage
Genus
group (generic) genera (pl)
Geotropic
grows downwards
Germination
growth of seeds into seedlings - begins when seeds become active below ground and ends when the first foliage leaves appear above ground
Gill
site of spore production in fungi
Glabrous
without hairs or scales - smooth
Gland
organ of secretion; fluid secreting organ; small or minute structure either raised or on the surface or within the tissue of leaves or other organs
Glandular
hairs responsible for aromatic odour
Glaucous
covered with bluish, white or grey bloom on leaves, stems, flowers or fruit; hav-ing a bluish-green colour
Globose
globular spherical or almost so
Glume
an empty modified leaf or bract, occurring at the base of a spikelet in grasses.
Graminoid
grassy.
Grass
extensive group of monocotyledon, flowering plants, characterised by hollow round stems with solid nodes at regular intervals. leaves are narrow and strap-like, borne on a sheath which surrounds the stem. the flowers are carried in loose panicles, racemes or spikes. the leaf sheath is split and ligule can be seen.
Guard
cells regulate aperture on stomata
Gymnos
gr. naked
Gymnosperm
plants with seeds exposed to the air at time of fertilisation (conifers)
Gynoecium
ovary/style/stigma - female reproductive organs - pistil.

H

Halophyte
terrestrial plant adapted to grow in salt-rich soil and salt-laden air
Haploid
(cell) a sex cell that has a single set of chromosomes produced by meiosis; one copy of each specific chromosome - i.e. having an unpaired set of chromosomes. the basic number of chromosomes possessed by the sexual cell of most plants
Hardwood
dicot wood (some, such as balsa, is softer than softwood)
Hastate
leaf shape rather like an arrow at the tip and rounded lobes turned outwards at the base
Haustoria
sucker pads (dodder)
Head
compact cluster of flowers
Heartwood
central portion of an older woody stem that no longer conducts water
Heath
an area occupied mainly by low shrubby plants whose growth is conditioned by severe environmental factors
Hemi-epiphyte
plant which grows from the ground initially but severs ground contact with maturity
Herb
plant with soft stem that does not become woody
Herbarium
1. collection of plants or plant parts that are picked, pressed and dried, and then mounted for permanent reference; 2. place where these are housed
Hermaphrodite
male and female organs (pistil and stamens) on same flower (bi-sexual)
Hetero-
other; different
Hirsute
bearing coarse stiff hairs
Hoary
densely covered with minute white hairs giving a white or greyish appearance
Holdfast
organ which holds algae to rocks
Husk
a usually dry outer covering, often composed of bracts, of a fruit or seed. dried out remains of overy.
Hybrid
individual produced from genetically different parents - often sterile - must be propagated vegetatively to retain characteristics; the issue of cross-breeding two dif-ferent species
Hydrosere
sequence of seral communities which mark the transition from water to dry land
Hypanthium
receptacle
Hyper-
excessively, higher than normal
Hypha
the feeding thread of a fungus (pl. hyphae)
Hypo-
below
Hypocotyl
cotyledon stem
Hypogeal
at or near ground level - below, under.
Hypogynous
(stamens) below female part (ovary)

I

Imbricate
plant tissue that is laid closely overlapping, like scales, for greater strength or protection (see valvate)
Imparipinnate
(leaf) compound, pinnate, terminates with a single leaflet
Incised
cut sharply and deeply, as of a leaf margin
Incomplete
(flower) when calyx and/or corolla are absent
Indehiscent
not opening at maturity
Indusium
protective membrane; cup-shaped expansion surrounding the stigma at the end of the style (goodenia); covering which protects sporangia in ferns
Inferior
ovary one which lies below the other parts of the flower
Inflorescence
cluster of flowers; arrangement of flowers (and thus fruits) on plant. the collective flower consisting of florets or spikelets
Infructescence
fruiting structure that contains more than a single fruit
Inorganic
without organised physical structure; extraneous; without carbon; has never lived
Internode
the portion of a stem between the insertion points of successive leaves
Intra-marginal
veins situated within the margin and more or less parallel to it
Involucel
spirally curled ring of bracts or small leaves around the base of a flower or flower cluster
Involucre
bracts which surround the receptable in asteraceae.
Irregular
asymmetrical

K

Kryptos
gr. hidden

L

Labellum
front petal of an orchid appearing as a lip or tongue
Labiate
lipped
Laciniate
(leaves) fringed with deep irregularly cut lobes
Lamiaceae
family formerly known as labiatae
Lamina
expanded part of a leaf; the leaf blade
Lanceolate
leaf type shaped like a lance - broadish in the lower half and tapering at both ends
Lateral
side
Latex
milky or watery substance exuded from cut or broken petioles or branchlets in certain plants e.g. figs
Leaf
flat usually green part of plant comprising lamina (blade) and petiole (stalk).  Main site of photosynthesis.
Leaflet
segment of a compound leaf
Leaves
thin, usually green flattened organs, comprising lamina (blade) and petiole (stalk).  Main site of photosynthesis.
Leguminosae
pod-bearing family which formerly included:
Lemma
outer flowering glume (considered to be the remnant of the corolla) of grasses
Lenticel
corky spot on young bark corresponding to epidermal stomata
Liane
climbing plant that develops a think woody stem
Lichen
plant-like partnership between a fungus and an alga which often forms a crust on rocks, tree-trunks or soil
Life
capacity for growth, reproduction, functional activity and continual change until death
Ligneous
of the nature of wood
Lignin
woody material - substance that reinforces xylem cells and makes them rigid
Lignotuber
underground storage stem with dormant buds that produce new growth when the above-ground parts of the tree are destroyed, usually by fire
Ligulate
strap-shaped as in outer ray florets of asteraceae
Ligule
tongue-shaped appendage of the sheath of a grass leaf where it joins the blade
Linear
leaf type which is long, narrow, grass-like, with parallel sides
Lithophyte
plant growing on rock or cliff face
Littoral
of or on the shore; region lying along shore; coastal
Living
state characterised by the ability to trap, store, release and use energy in a controlled manner for specific purposes, and to exchange matter with the external surroundings
Lobe
rounded part or projection especially in an organic structure; rounded or pointed division of a leaf; the sepal or petal of a flower
Lobed
leaf outline with lobes
Locule
separate small cavity
Locus
a place
Lyrate
leaf outline shaped like a lyre

M

Mallee
tree with multiple stems arising from a lignotuber - usually eucalypt
Mangrove
seashore (estuarine) tree adapted to periodic inundation with salt water
Mast
fruit of beech, oak, etc. esp. as food for pigs
Mealy
covered with dry flour-like powder
Meiosis
form of cell division that produces different cells; meiosis makes sex cells genetically different from each other.
Membrane
pliable tissue connecting or lining organs
Mericarp
part of a fruit that seems to be a separate fruit, as the two carpels in fennel and other plants in the carrot family; a one-seeded carpel which is one of a pair split at maturity
Meristem
tissue that contains cells able to divide indefinitely, situated at tip of shoot and root (also at stem base in grasses allowing grazing and mowing);
Mesocarp
fleshy part of a drupe
Micropile
opening in the seed coat which allows water to enter.
Mitosis
division of a cell nucleus to produce two identical cells - mitosis produces two new cells with exactly the same genetic material as the original cell. male and female gametes form by meiosis.
Mono-
one
Monocotyledon
plant with one seed leaf, leaves with parallel veins, flower parts that usually divide into threes
Monoecious
unisexual - male and female flowers occur separately on one plant
Moraine
bed of small stones deposited by retreating glacier
Morphology
study of shape
Moss
non-flowering plants with leaves and stems but no true roots.
Most
plant cells are diploid and contain two sets of chromosomes which are formed by exact replication. (pollen cells and ova (egg) cells (sex cells), however, contain a single set of chromosomes which have the potential to combine at fertilisation; this condition is known as haploid.)
Mucronate
having a short needle-like tip
Mycelium
white filamentous strands of fungi (a network of hyphae)
Mycorrhiza
partnership between a fungus and the roots of a plant; fungus which attaches itself to plant roots and forms a symbiotic relationship (one of mutual benefit) with the plant. this works by the plant giving up sugar to the fungus (albeit reluctantly) while the fungus absorbs phosphates and nitrates from the soil.

N

Native Plant
plant that has evolved to grow under a particular set of conditions in harmony with associated species (in an ecosystem)
Naturalised
describing a plant that has arrived from somewhere else and now grows in the wild along with the rest of the local flora
Nectar
substance produced by plants to attract pollinators
Nectary
sugar storage - usually at base of petal
Needles
rigid, elongated, pointed leaves
Nerve
strand of water-conducting tissue visible on the surface of a stem or leaf: also vein
Node
point on a stem where leaves or bracts arise. a joint occurring at intervals along stems of grasses - and clovers from which leaves arise as well as roots in the case of some creeping stems.
Nodule
small knots or swellings found on roots of leguminous plants which contain bacteria that can trap nitrogen in the air and make it available in the form of ammonia to that plant. the plant receives essential nutrients and the bacteria receive carbohydrate in re-turn
Non-living
objects or substances that never showed the characteristics of being alive
Non-vascular
plants eg. mosses, algae, fungi - without vascule, vein,vessel
Nut
dry, one seeded indehiscent fruit with woody outer layer

O

Oblanceolate
leaf shape - inverted lance, widest above middle
Oblique
used to describe an asymmetrical leaf base
Obovate
leaf shape - reversed ovate, widest above the middle
Obtuse
blunt or rounded leaf tip or base
Obverse
describes any leaf with a base narrower than its tip
One-foliolate
(leaf) compound leaf that is reduced to one leaflet, recognised by the joint at the junction of the lamina and the petiole
Operculum
bud cap (eucalypt)
Opposite
(leaves) arising at the same level on the stem
Orbicular
leaf in shape of an orb
Organ
member of animal or plant carrying out particular function
Organic
having vital organs - derived from living organisms - containing carbon
Organism
individual animal or plant; living being with inter-dependent parts
Ornithophilous
(pollination) by birds
Osmosis
passage of solvent through semi-permeable membrane from a weak to a strong solution; process by which something is acquired by absorption; the net movement of water molecules across a partially permeable membrane and down a concentration gradient
Ovary
basal part of pistil which becomes the fruit and contains the seed (encloses female reproductive organs)
Ovate
egg-shaped - describes a leaf that is oval but wider near the stalk
Ovoid
oval - usually referring to a three-dimensional structure such as a fruit
Ovule
unfertilised seed
Oxalate
  the deprotonated, charged form of oxalic acid or an ester of oxalic acid.

P

Palea
flowering glume (grasses).
Palm
structurally herbaceous monocot; tree-like plant with usually tropical unbranched stem and crown of large leaves
Palmate
lobed like a hand
Panicle
(type of inflorescence) branched raceme with a main axis and subdivided branches. it may be compact and spike-like or open. again, the branches may spread evenly in all directions or to one side only.
Pappus
calyx modified to form hair-like silky bristles (dandelion)
Parallel
type of leaf venation where veins run side by side, up and down the leaf
Parasite
feeds on living plant - species that benefits at the expense of its host
Paripinnate
compound leaf arrangement without single terminal leaflet
Peat
result of organic matter decomposing in boggy areas - the conditions in which peat is found are anaerobic (without air) meaning there are few bacteria present to hasten decomposition
Pedicel
stalk of a solitary flower or of a flower borne in a cluster
Pedicellate
short-stalked
Peduncle
inflorescence stalk
Peltate
shield-like, attached by a single stalk with the stem meeting the leaf at the centre of its underside, rather than the top;
Pendent
hanging downwards
Pendulous
hanging down, swinging
Penniveined
type of leaf venation
Pentamerous
five-lobed
Perennial
plant living for more than two years
Peri
around
Perianth
calyx (sepals) and corolla (petals) collectively
Pericarp
a structure developed from the ovary wall and enclosing the seed in angiosperms - specifically the collective term for the outer layers around the seed in the kind of fleshy fruit called a drupe
Perigynous
(stamens) arising around female part (ovary)
Permafrost
permanently frozen subsoil
Petals
conspicuous parts of the flower, usually coloured to attract pollinators; protect re-productive parts, together with calyx.
Petiole
stalk-like structure that connects a leaf to a stem
Petiolule
leaflet stalk (compound leaves)
Phaneros
gr. Visible
Phloos
gr. bark
Photo-
light
Photosynthesis
process in which energy of sunlight is used by green plants to form carbo-hydrates from carbon-dioxide and water
Phyllode
petiole functioning as an entire leaf; flattened leaf stalk acting as a leaf
Phylum
(see division) the category ranking below a kingdom and above a class in the hierarchy of taxonomic classification
Physiology
study of function
Pileus
mushroom cap
Pilose
  hairy
Pinnae
primary segments of a divided leaf
Pinnate
once divided; having the structure of a feather - similar parts appearing on opposite sides of an axis; once-divided compound leaf with the leaflets arranged on opposite sides of the common rachis or leaf-axis
Pinnatifid
leaf shape - divided pinnately.
Pinnule
little pinna
Pioneers
plants that colonise an exposed substrate in early stages of succession
Pistil
female reproductive structure of a flower consisting of ovary, style and stigma (see carpel)
Pistillate
(flowers) female parts only
Placenta
swollen pad of tissue formed from fused margin of carpel to which the ovules are attached
Placentation
the marginal arrangement of ovules within the ovary - a constant character within plant families and used in plant identification
Plant
living organism, feeding on inorganic substances, without power of locomotion
Plumose
feathery
Plumule
tiny shoot from seed
Pneumatophore
root breathing equipment (mangroves)
Poaceae
(family) the grasses - formerly known as gramineae
Pod
(type of fruit) dry fruit opening when ripe along two lines of dehiscence, derived from a single carpel
Pods
(type of fruit) dry fruit opening when ripe along to lines of dehiscence, derived from a single carpel
Pollen
yellow fertilising dust of flower which contains male sex cells
Pollen-tube
develops to allow pollen to travel down style from the stigma to the ovary.
Pollination
transfer of pollen (which contains male sex cells) from an anther (part of the male reproductive organ) to a stigma (part of the female reproductive organ)
Poly-
many
Polycarpellary
gynaecium with more than one carpel
Polycarpous
(ovary) many chambers
Polypetalism
flower composed of more than one petal - petals are not fused and are separate on receptacle.
Pome
fake fruit, e.g. an apple, which develops when the receptacle grows up around the true fruit (the core).
Prickle
sharp-pointed, hard, emergences on the stem or leaf of some plant; not modified branches or stipules, hence irregularly spaced and not restricted to axils; can be re-moved without causing any damage to the plant
Primitive
of or relating to an original stage or state
Procumbent
trailing or spreading along the ground without rooting
Prokaryote
primitive type of cell such as that of blue-green algae, where the dna inside the nucleus is not separated from the rest of the material located in the inside
Proliferous
producing buds or new plants vegetatively
Prostrate
lying closely on the ground
Prothallus
the gametophyte generation; flat growth resulting from the germination of a spore and bearing archegonia and antheridia
Pseudobulb
bulb-like thickened stem of some orchids
Psuedo-whorl
with leaves arranged in a cluster on the stem, the clusters separated by regular intervals, usually produced behind a scaly bud
Pteridophyta
(division) plants with roots, stems, leaves and water conducting tissue, no flowers, with reproduction by spores (ferns, horsetails, club moss)
Pubescent
covered with short soft downy hairs
Pulvinule
swollen base of a petiole
Pulvinus
swollen base of a petiole, usually capable of changing the orientation of a leaf
Pungent
ending in a stiff sharp point
Pyrophilic
adapted to an environment in which fire occurs

Q

Quadrat
measured area within which observations are made on plant distribution, etc.

R

Raceme
(type of inflorescence) unbranched spray of stalked flowers along a common stem; spikelets or flowers are attached directly to the axis by short stalks.
Rachis
  main axis of the lamina or its divisions
Radical
of or related to roots; the area where the stem meets the root; a term used to describe part of a plant that is growing from the root or at the base of a stem
Radicle
seed root
Rainforest
closed canopy of broad-leaved trees, many with buttressed roots
Ray
flat usually petal-like floret that is part of the flower heads. typically the ray flowers edge the central disc, which is made up of disc flowers
Receptacle
upper part of the axis bearing the floral parts, sometimes enlarged and obvi-ous in fruiting stage
Recurved
(leaf) edges turned under
Reduced
simple, not primitive (flower)
Reed
firm-stemmed water or marsh plant
Reniform
leaves that are kidney-shaped
Resin
exudate of tree, wood or bark, liquid but becoming solid on exposure
Restiad
of the family restionaceae, allied to the sedges
Reticulate
having a network of fibres or veins
Retuse
notched at end of leaf
Revolute
of leaves, margins rolled back wards
Rhizoid
fine root-like structure present in some plants such as mosses
Rhizome
horizontal creeping underground stem that often sends out roots and shoots (ginger)
Rhomboid
leaf shaped like a rhombus - roughly quadrangular (having four sides)
Riparian
of or on the banks of a river or stream.
Riverine
associated with a river
Rosette
circle or whorl of leaves around the stem of a plant; a basal rosette occurs at the base of the stem
Rosulate
(leaves) forming a rosette
Rotate
flowers with the petals arranged as on the spokes of a wheel.
Runner
long slender stolon; twining vine
Rush
marsh or waterside plant of the family juncaceae with slender, tapering pith-filled stems

S

Sagittate
arrow-shaped leaf base
Samara
dry indehiscent winged fruit of e.g. ashes, elms, maples
Sap
exudate from ruptured tissues.
Saprophyte
plant which feeds on decaying vegetable matter
Scabrous
rough to the touch
Scale
any thin, more or less dry, membranous structure, usually small, or as some peltate scales on some leaves and stems
Scale-leaf
leaf reduced to a small structure, often crowded
Scape
floral stem - leafless peduncle rising from ground
Schizocarp
(type of fruit) dry fruit that splits into dry one-seeded units
Sclerophyll
hard leaved (eucalypt, paperbark)
Scurfy
minutely scaly
Sedge
waterside or marsh plant. the leaf sheath is closed and no ligule is present. stem usually solid and triangular.
Seed
fertilised and ripened ovule. an embryonic plant; matured ovule without accessory parts; the result of sexual reproduction in plants
Self-pollination
process that occurs when the pollen from one flower settles on the stigma of the same flower and grows through the style to the egg
Sepals
protective layer outside petals - often green but sometimes coloured to attract pollinators - protects bud - leaflike parts of calyx
Sere
plant community in a succession which can (but does not always) lead to a climax (adj. seral)
Serpentine
soils formed from natural break down of ultramafic (high magnesium and iron) rocks, and usually containing high concentrations of nickel, chromium and magnesium.
Serrate
toothed (leaf margins) with sharp forward-pointing teeth
Sessile
without stalks; fixed
Sheath
lower part of a leaf enveloping the stem or stalk in grasses
Shoot
new plant growth
Shrub
woody perennial plant having several stems, growing from the ground, but no single trunk
Simple
of leaf, not divided into leaflets
Sinuate
wavy - as of leaf margins
Softwood
conifer wood
Soredium
powdery vegetative fragment involved in propagation in lichen
Sori
groups of sporangia (sorus - singular)
Spadix
club-like stalk bearing tiny flowers, usually enclosed in a sheath-like spathe; a flower-head on fleshy spike, usually enclosed by a large bract.
Spathe
leaf-like organ that encloses or spreads from the base of the spadix - large leafy bract enclosing a flower cluster
Spathulate
spoon-shaped, enlarged and rounded towards the apex
Spatulate
spatula-shaped (leaf type)
Species
group of closely similar individuals with small variations - able to interbreed
Spermatophyte
(sub-division) seed-bearing plants with roots, stems, leaves and water-conducting tissue (gymnosperms and angiosperms)
Spicate
(inflorescence) - forms a spike
Spike
type of inflorescence where flowers are attached directly to the axis without stalks.
Spikelet
the unit of the inflorescence in grasses normally consisting of two glumes and one or more florets.
Spine
general term to describe any spiky growth
Spinose
having spines
Sporangium
spore case (pl. sporangia)
Spore
asexual diploid cell used in reproduction; vegetative reproductive cell that does not contain an embryo. being dust-like they are transported by water or air and are carried great distances by the wind.
Sporophore
spore-bearing structure
Sporophyte
asexual diploid phase producing spores; dominant stage in life-cycle of ferns; the diploid form of the fern plant that produces spores; conspicuous phase of fern plant
Spur
hollow, tube-like projection from the petal - as in larkspur
Squamulose
scaly
Stamen
male reproductive appendages consisting of anther and filament
Staminate
(flowers) male parts only - having stamens but lacking pistils
Staminode
sterile stamen, often small and inconspicuous
Stele
central core of vascular plants
Stellate
star-shaped e.g. of a hair
Stem
main ascending axis of a plant; a stalk supporting another plant part such as a leaf or flower
Stigma
that portion of the pistil which receives the pollen
Stipe
leaf stalk from the rhizome to the lamina in grasses
Stipulate
having stipules
Stipule
small appendage, appearing in pairs at the base of the petiole in some plants; bract on the base of the petiole. two leaf-like organs which arise from the axils of the-leaves of clovers and medicks
Stolon
prostrate surface stem which roots at the nodes
Stomata
pores in the leaf (usually more numerous on the underside) through which gases and water vapour pass in and out
Strangler
begins life as epiphyte, roots eventually strangle host plant
Striate
the pattern of a leaf where the stripes, ribs or grooves are longitudinal
Strobilus
(pl. strobili) cone-shaped structure in many gymnosperms and fern allies usually composed of overlapping scales and containing reproductive elements
Style
connecting stalk between the ovary and stigma
Sub-species
overall similarity but may grow in a different area or exhibit different flower colour
Substrate
material on which a plant grows (soil, sand or rock)
Subulate
leaves that are long, narrow and taper to a point
Succession
series of changes in an area resulting in climax vegetation
Succulent
thick and fleshy; having fleshy juicy leaves or stems
Sucker
shoot from the lower part of the stem (water-shoot)
Symbiosis
relationship between two species which is mutually advantageous
Sympetalous
(corolla) petals joined together, at least at bases
Sympodial
plants where the terminal bud forms a flower or dies and subsequent growth is carried out by the lateral buds
Syncarpous
(ovary) one style - more than one chamber (simple flower)

T

Tendril
coiling leaf-like organ that attaches itself to objects allowing itself to climb
Tepal
parts of a flower where there is no differentiation between the sepals and petals (monocots.)
Terete
cylindrical and smooth; slender and circular in cross-section (as in grass stems)
Terminal
at the end or apex
Tessellated
the chequer-board patterning found on some flowers, leaves or trunks
Testa
hard outside coat of a seed
Thallophyta
division - simple plants with no stems or leaves - algae, bacteria and blue-green algae, fungi, lichens
Thallus
plant body of thallophyta
Thorn
sharp pointed projection on a plant; modified branch, hence in leaf-axils or termi-nating short branches, arising from the woody part of the plant, usually regularly placed
Tissue
group of cells that work together (eg. vascular tissue)
Tomentose
densely hairy; with matted hairs
Tomentum
hairs
Tracheids
thick-walled cells in xylem - reinforced with lignin; usually dead on maturity, they conduct water and minerals and give strength and rigidity to plants - essential in development of tall trees
Tracheophyta
division - plants with conducting tissue
Trailing
plants that are prostrate but do not produce roots
Transect
line across an area along which observations can be made on plant distribution, etc.
Transpiration
evaporation of water and water vapour into the atmosphere from the leaves
Tree
perennial plant with single woody trunk and distinct head or crown
Trifoliate
compound leaves composed of three leaflets
Tripartite
petals, sepals, bracts or leaves that can be divided equally into three
Tripinnate
a compound leaf with the blade divided three times (as in many ferns such as the brackens)
Triquetrous
triangular (as in stem of sedge)
Tropism
a directional growth response to a plant to an environmental stimulus
Truncate
ending abruptly as if cut off
Trunk
the main woody axis of a tree
Tuber
swollen underground stem which stores food (potato)
Tubercle
small wart-like outgrowth; may be blunt or with a short sharp point
Tuberculate
with knobby projections
Tundra
cold desert - country underlain by permafrost - topsoil frozen for 9 months
Turgor
pressure of the sap inside a cell

U

Umbel
(type of inflorescence) simple or compound - flowers borne on stalks arranged like ribs of umbrella; a flower cluster with a flattish top, in which the individual stalks radiate from a central point; if the stalk ends in separate umbels the cluster is a compound umbel eg queen anne's lace
Undulate
wavy
Unisexual
male and female flowers on the same plant

V

Valve
structure that breaks open or apart to release seeds from a fruit at maturity
Variation
something differing from another of the same type
Vascular
plants - ferns, angiosperms, gymnosperms - having special tissue to channel water and nutrients
Vegetation
plant-life
Vegetative
concerned with growth and development rather than sexual reproduction
Veins
strands of water-conducting tissue, visible from the surface of the stem, leaf or petal (also nerve)
Venation
arrangement of veins
Vernation
the arrangement of leaves in the bud - sometimes a useful means of identification
Versatile
describes an anther which is joined to its filament about half way along its length
Verticillate
(leaves) whorled
Vine
climbing or trailing plant with weak stem
Viviparous
giving birth to living offspring produced within parent body

W

Wallum
vegetation of coastal lowlands, including wet and dry heaths and open eucalypt forests originating from sandy soils with low fertility, including paperbark woodlands and rainforest
Water
chemical compound of hydrogen and oxygen, good solvent. nearly all chemical reactions occur in a watery solution
Weed
  introduced plant without natural predators to keep it in check that has escaped into the bushland and is out-competing native species
Whorl
ring of leaves, bracts or flowers radiating out horizontally from one common point on a stem
Wing
membranous outgrowth from a seed or petiole. the wing helps to carry the seed on the wind ensuring greater distribution. (see alar)  
Wood
tissue that supports trees and shrubs - layer of xylem cells reinforced with lignin which makes them rigid - allows plants to grow tall without collapsing

X

Xanthophyll
pigment which absorbs red light; accessory to chlorophyll which also masks green colour of chlorophyll in young leaves of some species
Xerophyte
drought-resisting plant specially adapted to dry conditions
Xerosere
seral community that starts with bare rock
Xylem
supporting and water-conducting tissue of vascular plants consisting mainly of woody tissue - carries water and minerals from roots to leaves; upward; translocation of water and soluble salts
Xylon
gr. wood

Z

Zygo
yoke
Zygomorphic
bi-laterally symmetrical
Zygote
fertilized egg that results from the fusion of haploid gametes
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