Alternate: borne singly along a stem; not opposite.
Annual: Living for only a single year (growing season).
Anther: The Enlarged, pollen-producing part of the stamen.
Axil: The upper angle formed between the leaf and the stem.
Axillary: situated in the axils.
Basal: situated at the base of the stem.
Basal Rosette: Leaves radiating directly from the crown of the root.
Beak: A prominent elongated tip.
Biennial: Living for 2 years; usually blooming the second year.
Blade: The flat, expanded part of the leaf.
Bloom: A whitish waxy or powdery coating easily rubbed off.
Bract: A very small or modified leaf, usually growing at the base of a flower or flower cluster.
Bristly-Toothed (leaves): Having a short bristle at the top of each tooth.
Bulb: An underground bud with thick, fleshy, onion-like scales.
Bulblet: A small bulb, especially one growing in a flower cluster.
Calyx: The outer whorl of floral leaves (sepals), which may be separate or fused.
Capsule: A dry fruit that splits open at maturity into two or more sections.
Clasping (Leaf): Partially surrounding the stem.
Cleft: Deeply cut.
Colonial: Growing in colonies, usually connected underground.
Composites: Members of the Composite or Daisy Family.
Compound (Leaf): Divided into two or more leaflets. The leaflets can be further subdivided, twice-compound, or even thrice-compound.
Corm: The enlarged base of a stem; bulblike but solid, not layered like an onion.
Corolla: The inner circle of flower parts, made up of petals.
Corymb: A flat-topped or convex branched flower cluster in which the branching is typically alternate.
Creeping: Running along the ground and rooting as it goes.
Crested: Bearing conspicuous ridges or projections on the surface.
Cyme: A more or less flat topped, branching flower cluster in which the branching is typically opposite.
Deciduous: Foliage shed after each growing season; not evergreen.
Decompound: Divided several or many times; compound with further subdivisions.
Disk: The compact center of some composites (such as sunflowers), composed of many tiny tubular disk flowers; commonly encircled by strap-like ray flowers.
Divided (Leaf): Cleft to, or almost to, the base or the midrib. A 2- to 3-times-divided leaf has each of its segments divided again and sometimes again.
Downy: Covered with very fine, soft hairs.
Egg-Shaped: Broader at one end than the other, like an egg; typically, 1.5 to 2 times longer than wide. Ovate.
Elliptical: Broadest in the middle and tapering equally toward both ends.
Entire: With the margin unbroken by teeth, lobes or divisions.
Family: A group of related plants. Families are divided into genera, which are furter divided into species.
Fiddlehead: The coiled young shoot of a fern.
Filament: The anther-bearing stalk of a stamen.
Fine-Hairy: Covered with fine hairs.
Floret: A very small flower, especially one of the disk flowers of plants in the Composite family.
Frond: A fern leaf; the expanded leaflike part of a seaweed.
Genus (Plural: Genera): A group of closely related species. The genus is designated by the first word in the Latin scientific name of a species and is always capitalized.
Glands: Minute protuberances, resembling swollen hairs, which secrete oils and other substances.
Glaucous: Covered with a fine, white, often waxy film, which rubs off.
Globular: Round, like a globe.
Halberd-Shaped: Arrow-shaped, but with the lobes at the base of the leaf pointing outward.
Head: A dense cluster of stalkless (or nearly stalkless) flowers. A group of flowers joined together in a short, dense, terminal cluster, as in the clover and in all members of the Composite Family.
Herbaceous: Fleshy, non-woody; leaflike in color and texture.
Indistinguishable: Said of flowers with no visible petal-like parts or with parts so small that it is difficult to make out their number or arrangement.
Inflorescence: The flowering part of a plant.
Introduced: Not native to a region.
Involucre: A circle of bracts below a flower or flower cluster.
Irregular: Said of flowers in which the parts are dissimilar in size, shape or arrangement.
Joint: A point on a stem where two sections are visibly joined together, usually resulting in a slight swelling of the stem, as in grasses and members of the Buckwheat Family. A section of a pod separated from others by a construction, as in the Tick Trefoils.
Lance-Shaped (Leaf): Broader toward one end and tapering to the other, like a lance; typically, 3 or more times longer than wide.
Leaflet: One of the separate and similar parts of a divided leaf.
Liana: A vigorous woody vine (usually refers to tropical vines).
Lip: The upper or lower part of many irregular flowers.
Lobe: One of the segments, usually rounded, of a leaf or flower.
Mealy: Covered with small dust-like particles resembling cornmeal.
Midrib: The central vein of a leaf or leaflet.
Neutral (Flower): Without stamens or pistils.
Node: A joint where one or more leaves are attached; any swollen or knoblike structure.
Oblong (Leaf): Longer than broad with parallel sides.
Obovate: Oval, but broader toward the apex; refers to the leaf shape.
Oval: Broadly elliptical.
Ovary: The enlarged base of the pistil that produces the seeds.
Ovate: Oval but broader toward the base; egg-shaped.
Palate: A projection on the lower lip of a flower.
Palmate (Leaf): With the leaflets radiating from a central point (as the fingers of a hand). Palm-Shaped.
Palmately Lobed, Cleft or Divided (Leaf): Lobed, cleft or divided so as to give the leaf a palmate configuration.
Panicle: An elongated branching flower grouping, with branches that are usually racemes.
Pappus: Bristles, hairs and the like on top of the fruit of members of the Composite Family.
Parasite: A plant that gets its food from another living plant.
Perennial: A plant that normally lives more than two years.
Perfect (Flower): A flower that has a full complement of male and female parts as well as floral envelopes (petals and sepals). Bisexual.
Perfoliate: A leaf that appears to be perforated by the stem.
Petal: One of the segments of the corolla.
Pinnate (Leaf): Divided in such a way that the leaflets are arranged on both sides of a common stalk, like the pinnae of a feather. In once-pinnate leaves, the stalk is unbranched; in 2- to 3-times-pinnate leaves, the stalk is branched once or twice, with each of the branches having leaflets.
Pinnately Lobed, Cleft or divided (Leaf): Lobed, cleft or divided so as to give the leaf a featherlike configuration.
Pistil: The central female reproductive part of a flower.
Pistillate: Having pistils but no stamens.
Pith: The softer, central part of a twig or stem.
Pod: A dry fruit, especially of the Pea Family.
Pollen: The male spores produced by the anther.
Prostrate: Lying flat on the ground.
Raceme: An elongated flower cluster with stalked flowers arranged along a central stem..
Ray: One of the stalks of an umbel. In members of the Composite Family, the straplike or petal-like flowers encircling the disk flowers.
Recurved: Curved downward or backward.
Reflexed: Abruptly turned downward or backward.
Regular: Having all of the parts alike in size and shape.
Rhizome (Rootstock): An elongate, prostrate or underground stem, usually horizontal and rooting at the nodes.
Rib: A prominent vein of a leaf.
Rosette (Basal): Leaves radiating directly from the crown of the root.
Runner: A slender trailing shoot that roots at the nodes.
Saprophyte: A plant that gets its food from dead organic matter.
Saprophytic: A plant (usually lacking Chlorophyll) that lives on dead organic matter.
Scale: A tiny colorless leaf found on some plant stems.
Sepal: One segment of the calyx; usually green, sometimes colored like petals (outer floral envelope).
Sessile: Lacking a stalk; such as a leaf or flower with no obvious stalk.
Sheath: A thin membrane surrounding the stem.
Shoot: A newly developed stem and its leaves.
Shrub: A woody plant usually no more than 15 feet in height and with several stems or trunks from the base.
Silique: A term applied to the particular seedpod structure of plants in the Mustard Family.
Spadix: A thick, fleshy flower spike (usually enveloped by a spathe) as in members of the Arum Family (Skunk Cabbage, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dragon Arum, etc.).
Spathe: A modified, leaflike structure surrounding a spadix, as in members of the Arum Family (Skunk Cabbage, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Dragon Arum, etc.). A large bract enclosing a flower cluster.
Spike (Flower): An elongated flower cluster with stalkless flowers arranged along a central stem. An unbranched, elongated flower grouping in which the individual flowers are sessile (attached without stalks).
Spur: A saclike or tubular extension on a flower. A hollow, tubular projection of a flower, as in the Larkspur.
Stalk: The stem of a leaf or a flower.
Stamen: The male organ of a flower, consisting of a slender stalk (filament) and a knoblike, pollen-bearing tip (anther).
Staminate: Having stamens but no pistil.
Stigma: The pollen-receiving tip of the pistil.
Stipule: A small leaflike growth at the base of a leaf stalk.
Style: The stalk of the pistil, connecting the ovary and the stigma.
Subshrub: Somewhat or slightly shrublike; usually a plant with a stem that is woody at the base, but mostly herbaceous.
Taproot: The primary root continuing the axis of the plant downward (as in a parsnip or carrot).
Tendril: A slender, coiling growth used for climbing or support. A modified leaf or branching structure, often coiled like a spring, used for clinging in plants that climb.
Terminal: At the end of a stem or branch.
Toothed (Leaf): Having several to many small indentations along the margin.
Trailing: Running along the ground, but not rooting.
Tuber: A thickened, short, underground branch (stem) with numerous buds or eyes (as in a potato).
Umbel: A flower cluster in which all the flower stalks radiate from the same point, like the ribs of an umbrella. A flower grouping with individual flower stalks or floral groupings radiating from a central axis; often flat-topped and umbrella-like.
Vein: One of a network of tiny channels in a leaf through which the plant’s fluids flow.
Whorled: Arranged in a circle around a central point. Three or more leaves, or other plant parts, radiating from a common point.
Wing: A thin, narrow membrane extending along a stem, stalk or other part. A flattened, fleshy or corky membrane projecting from a stem, stalk, fruit, or seed.