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Glossary of commonly used botanical terms and their definitions. Use the search bar below to look up a botanical term.

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15 Random Botanical Terms

Toothed - Said of petals or leaves having margins more or less sharply indented.

Bisexual - A flower with both stamens and pistils.

Compound Pistil - A pistil made up of two or more partially or completely united carpels.

Sori - Cluster of sporangia in ferns and fungi.

Glabrous - Smooth; hairless.

Proximal - Toward the base of a plant or the point of attachment of a plant part. Cf, Distal.

Pinnately Compound - Leaves with leaflets opposite each other on each side of the midrib. They may be oddly pinnate, ending with a leaflet at the tip, or evenly pinnate, with no leaflet at the end. These leaflets may be twice compound (Bipinnate), like the leaves on sensitive briars (Mimosa spp.).

FACU* - Faculative Upland - Nonhydrophyte. Usually occurs in non-wetlands, but may occur in wetlands. Occurs only in the South Pacific Islands subregion.

Regular flower - A flower equal in size, form, and union of its similar parts; radially symmetrical. Example: Solanaceae (Potato Family).

Leaflet - A division or part of a compound leaf.

Sepals - Parts that surround the petals, stamens, and pistil; usually green and leaflike. Sometimes they are the same size, shape, and color as the petals; as in Cooperia pedunculata (rain lily), in which case both sepals and petals are called sepals.

Parallel venation - Main veins running from base to apex of leaf.

Ray - The outer irregular flowers in the heads of many Compositae (Sunflower Family). Each has a single, tongue-shaped corolla.

Alternate - Placed singly at different heights on the stem; not opposite or whorled.

Rhizome - A horizontal underground stem.

© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center