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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

Scape - A naked flower stem rising from the ground.

OBL* - Obligate - Hydrophyte. Almost always occurs in wetlands. Occurs only in the South Pacific Islands subregion.

Aril - An outer covering or appendage of some seeds.

Falcate - Sickle-shaped.

Mucronate - Leaf apex with short spiny tip.

Pendulous - Suspended, hanging.

Staminate - Having stamens.

Oblanceolate - Inversely lanceolate with top wider than bottom.

Axil - The upper angle between two structures or organs, as where a leaf or branch joins the stem.

Ovary - The basal part of the pistil, bearing the ovules, which later develop into seeds. See also Inferior ovary; Superior ovary.

Inferior ovary - An ovary situated below the origin of sepals and petals. In many species the ovary is below the point of attachment of all the other parts of the flower, i.e., embedded in the flower stem. It usually shows as a swelling below the flower and may be seen only by cutting through this swelling.

Actinomorphic - Refers to flowers that can be divided into equal halves along any axis (radially symmetric).

Pappus - The calyx modifications found on many species of Asteraceae (Sunflower Family), commonly appearing as hairs, bristles, or scales, and usually persisting on the fruit.

Oval - Having the general form, shape, or outline of an egg; egg-shaped.

Caryopsis - A dry, one-seeded fruit (achene) with ovary wall united to the seed coat, characteristic of grasses.

© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center