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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

Simple - Not divided into parts, e.g., a leaf with the blade in one piece.

Wing - A thin extension of a plant part, as of a branch or dry fruit.

Needle - The long and narrow leaf of pines and related species.

Capitulescence - The inflorescence of a capitulum-bearing plant as in many species in Asteraceae.

Tendril - A slender coiling or twining structure modified from a leaf, branch, or other organ.

Beard - A tuft or line of hairs, as on certain petals.

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

Floret - A small flower, especially one in a dense cluster.

Evergreen - Remaining green and leafy through the winter.

Special Value to Bumble Bees - Recognized by pollination ecologists as attracting large numbers of bumble bees.

Semi-evergreen - Having foliage during part of the winter or dry season or tending to be evergreen in a mild climate but deciduous in a rigorous climate.

Acute - Pointed apex with margins that form an angle between 45 and 90 degrees.

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.

Annual - A species that grows from seed, flowers, fruits and dies within one year's time. See also, Winter Annual.

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.

© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center