University of Florida

Plant Identification Learning Module
Glossary of Botanical Terms: A–D







Alternate Leaf Arrangement: One leaf at a node. See Figure 1 .
leaf Figure 1.


Annual: A plant which completes its life cycle in one season. In Florida, annuals are typically referred to as warm-season or cool-season.


Apical: At the tip, as in the end of a shoot or root.



Basal: Leaves that grow at the base of the stem.


Berry Type Fruit: A simple, pulpy fruit such as blueberry, grape or tomato. See Figure 2 .
berry type fruit Figure 2.


Biennial: A plant that completes its life cycle in two growing seasons.


Bipinnate: Twice pinnate. See Figure 3.
bipinnate Figure 3.


Bloom: A waxy, white covering on leaves or fruit.


Bract: A more or less modified leaf situated near a flower. Ex: The brightly colored "petals" of a poinsettia are actually bracts.


Branchlets: Small branches growing from a larger branch.


Bud: Much-condensed, undeveloped shoot.


Bulb: A short, modified stem; the thickened leaves store reserved food.


Bulbous: Like a bulb; producing a bulb.



Catkins: A dense spike or raceme without petals having only male or female reproductive parts.


Columnar: Slender, upright form


Compound Leaf: A leaf composed of two or more leaflets.


Coniferous: Cone-bearing.


Cordate Leaf Shape: Heart-shaped. See Figure 4 .
cordate leaf shape Figure 4.


Corm: A thickened, vertical, solid underground stem.


Cormels:  Small corms that arise from a larger corm.


Corolla: Collective name for petals.


Corymb Flower Arrangement: An inflorescence consisting of a central rachis bearing a number of branched pedicels; the lower ones much longer than the upper, resulting in a flat or more or less round-topped cluster. See Figure 5.
corymb Figure5.


Crenate Leaf Margin: Blunt, rounded teeth. See Figure 6 .
crenate Figure 6.


Cyme Flower Arrangement: An inflorescence consisting of a central rachis bearing a number of pedicelled flowers. See Figure 7.
cyme Figure 7.



Deciduous: A plant which sheds its leaves during certain seasons of the year.


Dioecious: Male and female flowers are borne on different plants.


Drupe Fruit Type: A fruit with four major parts: a thin skin, a fleshy body, a hard stone, and an inner seed. Ex: Peach. See Figure 8.
drupe Figure 8.