acute: terminating in a distinct, but not protracted, point.

annual: completing the full cycle of germination to fruiting within a single year, and then dying.

anther: that part of the stamen in which the pollen is produced.

aril: a fleshy or hard structure that grows from the ovule. Often functions to attract animals which then disperse the seed.

awn: a slender, bristle-like projection.

axil: the angle between a leaf and a stem.

berry: a fleshy or pulpy fruit with the seed(s) embedded in the fleshy tissue.

biennial: completing the full cycle of germination to fruiting in more than one, but not more than two, years, and then dying.

bipinnate: twice pinnately divided.

bract: a leaf-like structure, different in form from the foliage leaves, associated with an inflorescence or flower.

bulb: an underground storage organ with short stem surmounted by a mass of fleshy scales.

bulbil: a small bulb produced on aerial parts of plants, such as a leaf axil or an inflorescence.

calyx: the outermost floral whorl, usually consisting of sepals or a calyx tube and calyx lobes.

capsule: a dry fruit opening at maturity to release the seeds.

carpel: a general term covering the ovules, ovary, style and stigma.

corm: a short, broad, firm-fleshed underground storage stem, from which arises aerial shoots.

corolla: the floral whorl inside the calyx, usually consisting of petals or a corolla tube and corolla lobes.

cosmopolitan:widely distributed in many countries, with no obvious country (or region) of origin.

coumarin: a substance found in many grasses, that gives hay its characteristic sweet smell.

cultivar: a cultivated variety.

dentate: having a toothed margin.

dichotomous: divided almost equally into two parts &endash; often applied to a branching pattern.

digitate: parts arranged like the fingers of a hand &endash; usually applied to the arrangement of leaflets in a leaf.

elliptic: oval in shape.

entire: without any indentations or teeth.

epiphyte: a plant that grows upon another but does not get food, water or minerals from it.

family: a major grouping of living things, usually containing several related genera.

filament: the stalk of a stamen below the point of attachment to the anther.

floret: one of the small reduced flowers in either the Asteraceae (daisy family) or Poaceae (grass family).

frond: the leaf of a palm, fern or cycad.

genus: a subdivision of a family, usually containing several closely-related species. Plural: genera.

glabrous: without hairs.

glandular-hairy: having sticky hairs.

glume: one of two bracts at the base of a grass spikelet.

hybrid: a cross between two different species, indicated in the plant name by an x.

inflorescence: the arrangement of flowers in relation to the stem and to each other.

keel: a boat-shaped structure &endash; in the pea family (Fabaceae) formed by the joining of the two lower petals.

lanceolate: shaped like a lance.

leaflet: one of the segments of a compound leaf.

lemma: the lower of two bracts in a grass floret.

liane: a woody climbing or twining plant.

ligule: an outgrowth from the inner junction of a grass leaf sheath and blade, often membranous, sometimes a fringe of hairs.

linear: a long, narrow shape.

mediterranean:the region consisting of the countries around the Mediterranean sea.

node: the point on the stem from which leaves arise.

obtuse: blunt or rounded at the apex.

ovary: the basal portion of a carpel or group of carpels, enclosing the ovule(s).

ovate: egg-shaped.

palea: the upper of two bracts in a grass floret.

palmate: a leaf that is divided into several leaflets that arise from the same point.

panicle: in inflorescence in which flowers are borne on branches of the main axis, or on further branches of these.

pantropical:widely spread throughout the tropics.

perennial: with a lifespan extending over more than two growing seasons. In this book the term is often used in the horticultural sense of 'herbaceous perennial' that is, a non-woody plant that lives for more than two seasons.

petal: free segment of the corolla.

petiole: the stalk of a leaf.

phyllode: a leaf whose blade is much reduced or absent and whose petiole has assumed the functions of the whole leaf.

pinna: a primary segment of the blade of a compound leaf or frond. Plural: pinnae.

pinnate: a compound leaf, with leaflets arranged in the same way as a feather.

raceme: an inflorescence with a simple, elongated axis bearing stalked flowers.

rhizome: a creeping stem, usually below ground, (consisting of a series of nodes and internodes with adventitious roots) from which new aerial shoots arise.

rosette: a tuft of leaves, usually at ground level, resembling the arrangement of petals in a rose.

sepal: free segment of the calyx.

septum: a partition or cross wall.

serrate: toothed so as to resemble a saw.

sessile: without a stalk.

sheathing: clasping or enveloping the stem.

silicula: a fruit type from the family Brassicaceae. The fruit is less than three times as long as broad.

siliqua: a Brassicaceae fruit that is long and narrow, more than three times as long as broad.

simple: not divided, applied to a leaf that is not divided into leaflets.

species: the basic category of biological classif ication, designating a single kind of animal or plant. Abbreviation: sp. &endash; plural: spp.

spike: an unbranched inflorescence of sessile flowers.

spikelet: a grass flowerhead, usually consisting of two glumes and one or more florets.

stigma: the part of the style that receives the pollen.

stipules: paired leaf-like, scale-like or bristle-like structures found at the base or on the stalk of a leaf or phyllode.

stolon: the creeping stem of a rosetted or tufted plant, giving rise to another plant at its tip.

style: an elongated portion between the ovary and the stigma.

subspecies: a subdivision of a species, usually geographical or ecological. Abbreviation: subsp. (or sometimes ssp.)

succulent: fleshy, juicy, soft in texture and usually thickened.

taxon: a classificatory group of any rank, e.g. family, genus, species, subspecies. Plural: taxa.

terete: circular in cross-section.

trefoil: a leaf with three leaflets.

tuber: an underground stem enlarged as a storage organ.

tubercle: a wart-like protuberance.

umbel: an umbrella-like inflorescence.

valve: one of the parts produced by the splitting of a capsule when ripe, or part of the specialised opening of a capsular fruit.

variety: a classificatory rank below that of subspecies, often used in horticulture. Abbreviation: var.


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