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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

Shrub - A low growing, usually less than 15 feet, woody perennial plant without a central stem.

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

Genus - A group of related species classified within a family.

Unisexual - A flower that possesses either stamens or carpels but not both.

Capsule - A dry fruit that splits open along three or more lines.

Radial asymmetry - The flower can be cut into two equal halves in many ways, provided that the plane of cutting passes through the center.

Distal - Toward the top of a plant or the tip of a plant part. Cf, Proximal.

Asymmetric - Lacking symmetry, e.g., the two halves of a leaf blade not alike.

Perianth - Collective term for petals and sepals (corolla and calyx).

Pith - The spongy tissue in the center of a stem.

Nut - A dry fruit with one seed and a thick hard wall.

Calyx - The sepals taken collectively. These may be distinct, or joined to form a cup or tube; they may be of any color but are usually green. When the calyx is present, it encloses the other parts of the flower in bud.

Hermaphrodite - Bisexual, having both male and female parts in the same flower.

Entire - Said of margins without teeth or lobes.

Peduncle - The stalk of a solitary flower or of a cluster of flowers.

© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center