Glossary for Joy's Plant Finder


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A

Accessory
The soft part of a fruit that is covered with many small, hard, dry seeds, as in a strawberry.
Accessory example: Strawberry

Aggregate
Berry formed from many tiny berries clumped together, as in a blackberry or raspberry.
Aggregate example: Blackberry

Alternate
Single leaves arranged so they alternate from one side of the stem to the other side.   For purposes of classification, a plant that exhibits leaves both alternately and occasionally oppositely on the same stem should be treated as an alternate.
Alternate example: Solomon Seal

Annual
Living only 1 year or growing season.

Anther
The knob on the end of a stamen that carries a flower's pollen.
Yellow Anthers:  Anther example: Pimpernel Anther example: Geranium HR  :Brown Anthers

Axil
Upper angle between a leaf and the stem where it's attached.  This spot is often the place where buds and flowers form.
Axil example: Jewelweed

B

Basal
Leaves clustered at the base, next to the ground.
Basal example: Plantain

Berry
Soft fruit with seeds imbedded in the flesh, as in a grape.
Accessory example: Service Berry

Biennial
Living 2 years, usually blooming the 2nd year.

Bipinnate
A compound leaf whose pinnate leaves also have pinnate leaflets.  These often have a fern-like appearance.
Bipinnate example: Mimosa tree leaf -- Pinnate leaflets on a pinnate leaf

Bract
Modified leaf, often colored, located nearest the flower.
Bract example: Sharp-lobed Hepatica The green leaves behind these white petals are the bract.

Bulb
Enlarged underground structure having onion-like layers.
Bulb example: Onion The layers within an Onion Bulb.

C

Calyx
Outer whorl of sepals.
Calyx example: Periwinkle Calyx example: Indian Strawberry :These septals are green

Clasping leaf
A leaf that wraps itself around a stem or stalk.
Clasping example:

Compound
Occurring in multiples.   Divided into 2 or more leaflets attached to the same green stem, sometimes in a fern-like manner.
Compound leaf example: Black Locust Double Compound leaf example: Mimosa

Corm
Enlarged base of a stalk, bulb-like but solid, not layered as in the case of an onion and other bulbs.
Corm example: Dutchman's Breeches Orange Corm of a Dutchman's Breeches

Corolla
The overall collection of petals of a flower.
Corolla example: Black-eyed Susan The corolla of this flower is the yellow parts.

D

Drupe
Fleshy part of a fruit that encloses a hard "stone" that contains a seed, as in a peach or cherry.

E

Entire
Smooth, untoothed edges on a leaf or leaflet.
Entire example: Japanese Honeysuckle

F

Fascicle
A bundle or clump of flowers or leaves that are crowded together without a clear space (internode) between them.  A bundle of pine needles into a clump is a fascicle.
Fascicle example: 3 pine needles Fascicle example: 5 pine needles

Filament
The long whisker-like portion of a flower's stamen.
Red Filaments: Anther example: Pimpernel Anther example: Geranium HR :White Filaments

G

Glabrous
Smooth, hairless, or bald.  Having no fuzz or hair-like projections.

H

Hip
A hollow, leathery bulge under a blossom containing seed-like fruits, as in a rose.
Hip example: Rose

I

Inflorescence
A flower Inflorescence (cluster).
Inflorescence example: Bee Balm Inflorescence example: Butterfly Weed Inflorescence example: Grape Hyacinth Inflorescence example: Milkweed
Inflorescence example: Fringeless Orchis Inflorescence example: Chives Umbel example: Queen Ann's Lace

Internode
The place on a stalk or stem where no leaves or flowers are attached.
Node example

J


K


L

Lobed
A leaf edge that indents deeply towards the central vein and then extends out again, so the leaf width is wide, narrower, and then wide again.   A lobe is the wide section.
Lobed example: Tulip tree Lobed example: Dwarf Larkspur

M


N

Needle
A leaf that is extremely thin and narrow, and usually pointed -- typically of a pine or fir tree.
Fascicle example: 3 pine needles Fascicle example: 5 pine needles

Node
The place on a stalk or stem where one or more leaves or flowers are attached.
Node example

O

Opposite
Leaves arranged usually in pairs on opposite sides of the stem, although the last leaf may be a single leaf at the end of the stem.   (When there are multiple leaves, i.e. more than 2, attached near to the same point on a stalk, this is referred to as a Whorl.)
Opposite example: Staghorn Sumac

P

Palmate
A leaf with 3 or more lobes arranged like fingers spreading out on a hand.
Palmate example: Blue Cohosh Palmate example: Blue Cohosh

Panicle
A compound raceme or compound umbel.
Panicle example: Poison Hemlock

Perennial
Normally living more than 2 years.

Petiole
The stalk-like part of a leaf attaching it to a stem.  The petiole is the transition between the stem and the leaf blade.
Node example

On a compound leaf, the part that attaches a leaflet to the rachis is called a petiolule.
Petiole example: Lilac

Piercing
An extreme form of clasping leaf where the stem or stalk seems to pierce directly through the leaf.
Piercing example: Common Sow-thistle

Pinnate
A compound leaf where the leaflets are attached along the sides of a shared stalk.
Compound leaf example: Black Locust

Pome
Where the fleshy part of the fruit encloses a papery inner wall that surrounds the seeds, as in an apple or pear.
Pome example: Apple

Pubescent
Having fuzz, down, or hair-like structures.  The leaves and stalk in these photos are pubescent.
Pubescent leaf example: Campion Pubescent leaf example: Lamb's Ear Pubescent stem example: Cucumber

Q


R

Raceme
Growing on separate stalks.
Raceme example: Poison Hemlock

Rachis
The main stem of a compound leaf.
Opposite example: Staghorn Sumac

Rosette
Crowded cluster of leaves appearing to grow directly out of the ground.   Usually basal and circular in appearance.
Rosette example

S

Sepal
One segment or "leaf" of a Calyx which may be green or petal colored.  When a sepal has a color other than green, it is harder to tell which part is a sepal and which is a petal.  The white parts below are petals.

Green sepals: Green Sepal example: Trillium Colored Sepal example: Crested Dwarf Iris :Blue sepals

Sessile
Leaves or flowers that are attached directly to a stalk without a stem (petiole).
Sessile flower: Sessile flower example: Great Lobelia Sessile leaf example: Columbine :Sessile leaf

Simple
Simple leaves, not compound leaves.   Simple leaves can still be toothed and lobed.

Untoothed example: Miner's Lettuce Double Toothed example: Dwarf Ginseng Lobed example: Tylip Tree

Stamen
The reproductive portion of a flower that consists of long whisker-like filaments that end with a knob-like anther that carries the flower's pollen.
Anther example: Pimpernel :Stamen with red filaments and yellow anthers
Anther example: Geranium HR :Stamen with white filaments and brown anthers

Stipule
Small leaf-like appendage at the base of a leafstalk.
Stipule example: Periwinkle

T

Tepal
The outer parts of a flower that include the petals and sepals.

Toothed
A jagged leaf edge, looking similar to a saw blade.   A tooth is often located, but not required to be, at the ends of veins.   A double toothed leaf has teeth of more than one size, usually alternating between a large tooth and a small tooth.
Toothed:  Toothed example: Cherry Tree Double Toothed example: Dwarf Ginseng  :Double Toothed

U

Umbel
A cluster at the end of a stalk.
Umbel example: Queen Ann's Lace Umbel example: Queen Ann's Lace

V


W

Whorled
Multiple leaves, at least 3, usually arranged more or less evenly around a stem, clustered above ground level.   Whorls at ground level are called "Basal".
Whorled example: Bedstraw Whorled example: Woodruff

Winged
A winged stem has a thin leaf-like edge on one or more sides of the stem.  The wing doesn't necessarily have to be green.
Green wings:  Winged example: Dwarf Sumac Winged example: Brown wings  :Brown wings

XYZ


Joy's Plant Finder

Plant Identification References Used