Horticultural Terms and Meanings

Horticultural Terms and Meanings

Abaxial - facing away from the stem (side of leaf)

Adaxial - facing towards from the stem (side of leaf)

Acuminate Leaf Apex - leaf ends in a long drawn out/tapered sharp tip point. 

Acute Leaf Apex - leaf ends in a short sharp tip

Anthesis - the flowering period

Axil - the point at which a branch stems from another, a leaf grows from a stem, or a petiole grows from a stem. 

Bract - a modified leaf or scale that accompanies flowers

Bullate - Surface covered with irregular and slight elevations, giving a blistered appearance

Cataphyll - a leaf that forms but does not develop to perform its usual function. It has no photosynthetic ability but instead provides protection or storage function. It precedes foliage leaves. 

Cataphyllum - see cataphyll

Caudex - A thickened, enlarged base of a stem either underground, partially underground or above the soil level. 

Caudiciform - A plant growing from a caudex

Cordate - Heart shaped

Coriaceous - having a leathery texture

Corm - A rounded underground storage organ present in some plants consisting of a swollen stem base covered with scale leaves.

Dioecious - a plant that is either male or female having either staminate or pistillate flowers. 

Dormant - Having normal physical functions suspended or slowed down for a period of time; in or as if in a deep sleep.

Elliptical - Oval shaped

Epiphyte - A plant that grows off another plant or structure and gets its moisture and nutrients from the air, rain and surrounding debris. These plants do not typically root into the ground

Etiolation - The elongation of a plants stems between nodes. This is usually an indicator that a plant is not receiving enough light and is "stretching"

Fenestrate - Having small perforations or transparent areas.

Geophyte - plants with underground storage organs, where the plants hold energy and water e.g. bulbs.

Glaucous - a natural waxy or powdery covering that is easily wiped off

Habit - The general appearance of the plant, including size, shape, growth form and orientation.

Hemi-epiphyte - Plants that germinate either on the ground or in a canopy and fall to the ground. These plants root in soil and will then climb a tree and may eventually sever all older growth and all connections to the ground, and continue growing solely as an epiphyte.

Herbaceous - Referring to plants that that have a soft, non-woody stem.

Hippocrepiform - shaped like a horseshoe

Inflorescence - The complete flower head of a plant including stems, stalks, bracts, and flowers.

Lanceolate - Shaped like a lance head; of a narrow oval shape tapering to a point at each end.

Leaf Apex - The leaf tip

Leaf Morphology - shape and arrangement, margin and venation. 

Lithophyte - A plant that grows on bare rock or stone or amongst loose rock and debris.

Monocarpic - grow point flowering once then terminates with the plant producing pups to continue growth

Monoecious - containing both male and female reproductive organs on the one individual plant (hermaphrodite)

Nyctinastic (Movement) - Referring to the physical movement response a plant has to external stimuli (E.g. maranta and light)

Ovate - Egg shaped with broader end at the base

Pedate - Divided into several lobes emerging from a common point, lateral lobes sometimes divided into smaller lobes. Having or resembling a foot.

Pedicel - the stalk of a single flower where multiple flowers develop on the end of a peduncle. 

Peduncle - stalk of inflorescence or flower head.

Petiole - The stalk that attaches the leaf to the stem

Perennial - A plant with a lifespan of more than two years. these plants my die back over winter but their roots remain and will regrow in spring. 

Photosynthesis - The process by which plants use water, sunlight and carbon dioxide to create oxygen and energy for the plant to grow.

Pinnatifid - pinnately divided, but not all the way down to the central axis.

Pistillate flower - female, bearing only pistils

Propagation - producing of young plants, multiplication by natural reproduction.

Protogynous - an evolutionary feature that discourages self pollination in plants with the female reproductive organs maturing before the male one. 

Pruinose/Pruinescence - A waxy covering seen on plants such as succulents that resemble a white dusty powder that acts as a natural sunscreen for the plant. 

Repent - creeping

Rhizome - A stem that grows underground. It usually grows horizontally, just below the soil's surface. Different from roots as they have nodes and stems grow directly from the rhizome. 

Rounded Leaf Apex - Rounded or blunt leaf tip

Sagittate - Shaped like an arrowhead, with two pointed lobes extending downward from the base.

Spadices - Spadix plural

Staminate flower - male, bearing only stamens. 

Striations - ridges, grooves, thin lines, streaks in colouration

Substrate - The surface or material on or from which an organism lives, grows, or obtains its nourishment

Tendril - the slim stem like structures on vines that cling to supports such as  trellises. 

Terete/subterete - a cross section that is circular in shape with a single surface. Subterete is not completely circular. 

Terminal (Apical) bud/flower - The primary growing point, emerging from the tip of the stem. The terminal bud is the main point of growth for most plants. 

Totipotency - The inherent potentiality of a plant cell to give rise to a whole plant

Umbel - A flower cluster that consists of a number of short flower stalks which spread from a common point to make a flat or curved surface, somewhat like an umbrella.

Xerophyte - A plant that has adapted to an environment that has very little liquid water available (xerophytic)

Zoophily - pollination of a flower by animals e.g bees!

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