University of Florida

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


A–D

E–N

O–R

S–W

 

A

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.

 

B

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.

 

C

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.

 

D

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.