University of Florida

Plant Identification Learning Module
Glossary of Botanical Terms: S W







Samara Fruit Type: Winged fruit; dry, indehiscent. See Figure 26.
samara Figure 26.


Scale-like Leaf Shape: Small, short, usually sharp-pointed, broadened at the base. See Figure 27.
scale Figure 27.


Segments: In palms, leaf is deeply lobed but not divided.


Sepal: One of the parts of the outer whorl of a flower, usually green in color.


Serrate Leaf Margin: Sharp teeth pointing toward the apex. See Figure 28.
serrate Figure 28.


Simple Leaf: An undivided leaf; without leaflets. See Figure 29.
simple Figure 29.


Solitary: single, one flower.


Spadix: A flower spike with a thick and fleshy axis, usually densely flowered with imperfect flowers. See Figure 30.
spadix Figure 30.


Spathe: A large bract sheathing or enclosing a spadix. See Figure 30.


Spike Flower Arrangement: An inflorescence consisting of a central rachis bearing a number of flowers directly attached to the flower stem (i.e., no pedicels). See Figure 31.
spike Figure 31.


Spore: A small reproductive structure capable of developing into a new organism.


Spur: In fruit, a short shoot that bears the fruit; in flowers, a tubular projection of the corolla.


Stamen: The male, pollen-bearing organ of a flower made up of a filament and anther. See Figure 32.
stamen Figure 32.


Stolon: Trailing stem above ground, rooting at the nodes.


Stone: The woody portion of the protective enclosure surrounding a seed.


Stone cell: Hard cells with thick walls that provide support to the plant and give the flesh a gritty texture.


Subopposite:  nearly alternate but with close spacing.


Succulent: Fleshy and full of juice.


Suture:  In fruit, the line where the dry fruit splits open.



Tendril: A modified leaf or stem, slender and coiling, used for grasping or attaching to a support.


Trifoliate: A compound leaf having three leaflets.


Tuber: A thickened, short, usually subterranean stem having numerous buds called eyes.


Tunicate: Having enwrapping coats or layers, like an onion.



Umbel Flower Arrangement: An inflorescence consisting of several pedicelled flowers with a common point of attachment. See Figure 33.
umbel Figure 33.


Undulate Leaf Margin: Wavy leaf edge (up and down in a vertical plane). See Figure 34.
undulate Figure 34.



Whorled Leaf Arrangement: Three or more leaves at a node. See Figure 35.
whorled Figure 35.