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Botanical Glossary: S - Z

Botanical Glossary: S - Z

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A Short Botanical Glossary
compiled by Jim Croft
of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/

S - Z

sac:
a pouch-like structure; hence saccate

sagenoid:
of anastomosing venation with regular areoles with included, free, often branched veinlets pointing in all directions; like species of Tecaria

sagittate:
shaped like an arrow head

saline:
salty (cf. brackish, marine)

saprophyte:
an organism using decaying or non-living organic matter for nourishment; hence saprophytic (cf. parasite, holophyte, hemiparasite)

sarmentose:
producing long, flexuose runners or stolons

satiny:
of an indumentum of fine haris closely apprese to form a complete, very smooth, more or less shiny cover

savanna (savannah):
a community dominated by species of grass with scattered trees; mostly strongly seasonal

scabrid, scarbrous:
rough to touch due to minute, hard projections (dimin. scabridulous, scaberlous)

scalariform:
ladder-like, the markings suggestive of a ladder, eg. venation

scale:
a small, often leaf-like organ, wider than thick, often dry and membranous (cf. hair, bristle)

scandent:
climbing, usually without special climbing organs

scape:
a peduncle arising from near the ground, leaflets or with scale-like leaves

scarious:
thin, dry and +/- translucent

sclerenchyma:
mechanical tissue of cells with immensely thickened walls, often without living cell matter; hence sclerified, sclerenchymatous

scrobiculate:
marked with minute depressions

scrub:
a community dominated by shrubs

scurf:
fine scaly covering; hence scurfy

-sect:
suffix meaning 'deeply divided or lobed almost to the base' eg. pinnatisect, palmatisect (cf. dissected, -fid)

scutellum:
a shield; hence scutate, scutelliform, shield-shaped (pl. scutella)

secondary thickening:
the production of additional vascular and supporting tissue through the activities if a vascular cambium

section:
a subgroup of a genus used to identify closely related species

secund:
with the parts directed to one side only

segment:
each free part of a divided whole, eg. the subdivisions of a divided leaf

semi-:
prefix meaning 'half'

septum:
a partition or cross-hall; hence septate, internally divided by transverse partitions (pl. septa)

seriate:
suffix indicating arranged in rows, eg. uniseriate, biseriate, multiseriate etc.

sericeous:
clothed with soft, straight appressed hairs

serrate:
with sharp teeth, oblique to the margin, pointing apically like a saw (dimin. serrulate) (cf. crenate, dentate)

sessile:
without a stalk, attached directly to the axis or organ

seta:
fine, bristle-like structure; hence setose, with bristles (pl. setae; dimin. setulose)

setaceus:
with the character of a bristle

setiferous:
bearing bristles

setiform:
bristle-like

sheath:
a +/- tubular structure surrounding an organ or part

siliceous:
containing crystals of silica

silky:
with a covering of very fine, more or less appressed, lustrous hairs

simple:
composed of one piece or series, not divided (cf .composite, compound)

sinous:
shallowy curved

sinus:
the gap or recess between two lobes or segments

sinus membrane:
a hyaline flap of tissue occurring in the base of the sinus in some ferns

siphonestele:
a cylindrical stele with a hollow parenchymatous centre; amphiphloic siphonostele (= solenostele) has phloem on both the inside and outside of the cylinder, an ectophloic siphonostele (=medullated protostele) has phloem on the outside only

slender:
long and thin

solitary:
borne singly, not grouped together

soriferous:
bearing sori

sorophore:
specialised sporangia-bearing lobes of the leaf margin in species of Schizaeaceae

sorus:
a group or arrangement of sporangia in ferns (pl. sori)

spathulate:
+/- spoon-shaped

species:
the fundamental unit of taxonomy, a group of plants of the same morphology, capable of interbreeding, sometimes with +/- distinct varieties; similar species are grouped into genera

spicular:
spiky

spike:
an unbranched, elongate, indeterminate inflorescence with sessile flowers; the arrangement of sporangia in Ophioglossaceae; hence spicate

spine:
stiff process with a sharp point derived from subepidermal tissue; hence spinose, spinous (dimin. spinulose) (cf. prickle)

spinescent:
terminated by a spine; modified to form a spine

spiniform:
thorn-like

spiral:
borne at different levels along the axis, in an ascending spiral

sporangiosphore:
the stalk of a sporangium

sporangium:
a case or body that contains the spores (pl. sporangia)

spore:
a single, vegetative, reproductive cell that does not contain an embryo, in cryptogams

sporeling:
a very young fern plant developing from the prothallas after fertilisation

sporocarp:
a thick-walled body containing sporangia (eg. Marsilea)

sporogenous:
of tissue or cells in which the spores are formed

sporophyll:
leaf-like or foliaceus organ bearing reproductive parts or organs (particularly spores)

sporophyte:
the diploid stage that produced the spores; the dominant and asexual stage in the life cycle of ferns (cf. gametophyte)

squamose:
scaly or scale-like (dimin. squamulose)

squamule:
a small papery scale; hence squamulose

squarrose:
with spreading or divergent processes or scales

stele:
the arrangement of vascular tissue in a stem

stellate:
star-shaped

sterile:
barren, not producing seed, pollen or spores capable of germination; of a plant lacking reproductive organs (cf. fertile, vegetative)

stilt-roots:
oblique adventitious roots from the stem

stipate:
pressed together, crowed

stipe:
a stalk or support; the petiole of a fern frond; hence stipitate

stipule:
one of a pair of leaf-derived organs inserted at or near the base of a petiole; hence stipulate

stock:
= rootstock (cf. caudex)

stolon:
a +/- horizontal, elongate stem rooting at the nodes and at least partly above the ground (cf. runner)

stoma:
a pore in the epidermis (especially of leaves) for the exchange of gases; (pl. stomata)

stomium:
the opening of the annulus in a sporangium through dehiscence occurs and the spores are shed, often marked by thin-walled, enlarged cells (pl. stomia)

stramineus:
straw-coloured

stria:
a fine longitudinal line or ridge; hence striate (pl. striae)

strict:
upright, straight and rigid

strigose:
provided with pointed, appressed, rigid, hair-like scales or bristles

strobilus:
a scaly, cone-like structure that bears spores; an aggregation of sporophylls (pl. strobili) (cf. cone)

sub-:
prefix meaning 'not quite', 'almost', 'slightly' or 'somewhat', eg. subepiphytic, subpeltate

suberose:
corky in texture

subfamily:
a grouping of similar genera within a family, a category above tribe (viz.)

subspecies:
a grouping within a species used to describe geographically isolated variants, a category above variety (viz.)

substrate:
the surface or medium to which the plant is anchored, not necessarily providing nourishment

subtend:
to occur immediately below as in a bract subtending a flower

subterranean:
underground

subulate:
awl-shaped, narrow and gradually tapering to a fine point

succulent:
juicy or fleshy

sucker:
a vegetative shoot of underground origin

sulcus:
a furrow or groove (pl. sulci.); hence sulcate, longitudinally grooved

superficial:
on the surface, away from the margin

superior:
situated above another organ or part (cf. inferior)

supra-:
prefix meaning 'higher than' (cf. infra-)

suprafamilial:
above the rank of family; similarly supra generic etc.

suture:
a seam or line formed at the junction of two margins

sympatric:
of two or more species having coincident or overlaping ranges of geographic distribution (cf. allopatric)

sympodium:
an axis made up of the basal portions of several branches, the apex of each branch dying and growth continued by an axillary bud; hence sympodial (cf. monopodial, dichotomous, pseudodichotomous)

syn-:
a prefix meaning 'together'

synangium:
a sorus-like structure formed by the fusion of two or more sporangia, a single body divided internally into several locules each bearing spores

synonym:
another name for the same taxon, either the result of independent description, or the transference or combination of different taxa (cf. basionym, nomenclatural synonym, taxonomic synonym)

syntype:
one of two or more specimens used by the author without designating a holotype for one of two or more specimens designated as the type (see type)

tautonym:
an inadmissable name where the genus name is the same as the species name (cf. homonym, synonym)

taxon:
a group of plants of the same type, eg. species, genus, family, order etc; hence taxonomy, the study of taxa (pl.)

taxonomic synonyms:
synonyms (viz.) with different basionyms (viz.) or based on different types (viz.) (cf. nomenclatural synonym)

taxonomy:
the study of the division of life forms into similar and distinct categories (cf. nomenclature)

temperate:
pertaining to the cooler areas of the world with moderate climates (cf. tropic)

tendril:
a slender twining appendage or extension by which a climbing plant may attach itself

terete:
cylindrical, circular in transverse section

terminal:
at the end of a stem or axis (cf. apical, axillary, lateral, basal, etc.)

ternate:
arranged or divided into threes; hence ternatifid, ternatisect

terrestrial:
growing on the ground (cf. aquatic, amphibious, epiphytic)

tesselate:
of a checker-work pattern or divided into squares or squarish pieces

tetra-:
prefix meaning 'four'

tetrad:
a group of four (cf. quadri-)

tetragonous:
having four angles

tetrahedral:
of a solid with four sides

thallous:
+/- flat, ribbon-shaped

thallus:
plant body not differentiated into leaves and stem; hence thalloid, thallose

thorn:
a reduced branch with a sharp, hard point (cf. spine, prickle)

tomentum:
a dense woolly or matted covering of +/- appressed hairs; hence tomentose

topotype:
a specimen collected from near the locality of the type (viz.)

trabecula:
a transverse partition dividing or partly dividing a cavity; hence trabeculate

translucent:
letting light through, almost transparent (cf. pellucid)

trapezoid:
trapezium-shaped, a four-sided figure with the opposite sides parallel

tri-:
prefix meaning 'three'

tribe:
a taxonomic grouping of similar genera, a division of the family below the level of subfamily

trichome:
an unbranched hair-like outgrowth of the epidermis, often glandular

trichotomous:
three-forked

trifid:
divided into three +/- equal parts, usually to about half-way

trifoliolate:
of a compound leaf with three radial leaflets

trifurcate:
split into three forks or branches

trigonous:
with three angles, of a solid body, triangular in cross-section with rounded corners (cf. triquetrous)

trilete:
of a spore with a radial, three-armed scar (cf. monolete)

tripartite:
divided into three +/- equal parts, to the base or almost so

tripinnate:
three times pinnate (cf. pinnate)

triplinerved:
with three main veins

triquetrous:
with three prominent acutely angled ridges (cf.trigonous)

tropic:
pertaining to the warmer or equatorial regions of the world; hence tropical (cf. temperate)

trullate:
shaped like a brick-layer's trowel

truncate:
with the base or apex flattened abruptly as though cut off

trunk:
the erect, unbranched portion of a tree-like plant

tube:
any hollow elongate body of an organ; hence tubular

tuber:
a swollen, usually underground, part of a stem or root; hence tuberous, swollen

tubercle, tubercule:
a small, wart-like swelling

tuberculate:
bearing knobbly projections or excrescences

tufted:
growing in small clumps

turbinate:
or a top-shaped solid

turgid:
swollen, rigid and stiff by means of internal pressure (cf. flaccid)

twiner:
a climbing plant supporting itself by winding spirally around an object

type, type specimen:
the nomenclatural type or specimen to which the name of a taxon is always attached (cf. holotype, isotype, neotype, lectotype, paratype, haptotype, syntype, topotype, kleptotype)

type genus:
the genus to which the name of a genus is permanently attached

type species:
the species to which the name of a genus is permanently attached

type subspecies, type variety:
the variety or subspecies of the species that contains the nomenclatural type of the species (cf. autonym)

umbo:
a rounded protuberance or elevation in the centre; hence umbonate, bearing a protuberance in the centre

unarmed:
without spines, hooks or prickles (cf. armature)

undulate:
corrugated or with the margin waved in a plane perpendicular to the surface (cf. sinuate)

uni-:
prefix meaning 'one' or 'solitary' (cf. mono-)

unifoliolate:
of a compound leaf reduced to a single leaflet

unilateral:
one-sided

unilocular:
with a single cavity

uniseriate, uniserial:
arranged in a single row

united:
fused together, growing together (cf. free)

urceolate:
hollow and contracted at the mouth like an urn or pitcher

valvate:
opening by doors or valves

valve:
a door of flap-like opening in some organs; hence valvate

variegated:
irregularly coloured in patches

variety:
+/- recognisable entities within species that are not genetically isolated from each other; below the level of subspecies

vascular:
of tissue containing the conducting elements of the plant, xylem and phloem (viz.)

vascular bundle:
the primary conducting system of plants consisting mainly of phloem and xylem (viz.

vegetation:
the total aggregation of plant communities within an area

vegetative:
of a plant lacking reproductive organs (cf. sterile, fertile)

vein:
strand of vascular conducting tissue in a leaf or similar structure (cf. nerve)

veinlet:
a small or secondary vein

velutinous:
covered with fine, soft, +/- patent hairs, +/- velvet-like

venation:
the arrangement of the veins, especially in leaves or leaf-like structures

ventral:
on or pertaining to the undersurface (cf. dorsal)

vernation:
the arrangement of unexpanded leaves in a vegetative bud

vernicose:
shining, as though varnished

verrucose:
with a warty, nodular surface (dimin. verriculose)

versatile:
attached at the middle and free to swing

verticellate:
in a circle or whorled about the axis (cf. whorl)

vesicle:
a small bladder or cavity filled with air or fluid; hence vesicular, blistered on the surface

vessel:
a duct or atriculated tube of cells, rendered continous by the absorbtion or perforation of transverse walls

vestigial:
reduced to a rudiment

villous (villose):
clad in long, soft hairs, not matted together

villus:
a long, weak hair (pl. villi)

virgate:
twiggy, elongate, straight and slender

viscid:
sticky or gluey (of surfaces)

viscous:
slow-flowing, often sticky (of a liquid)

viviparous:
germinating or spouting from a seed or bud while attached to the parent plant

whorl:
an arrangement of three or more similar parts or organs at the same level about an axis; hence whorled (cf. verticellate)

wing:
a membranous or lamina-like border or surround

wrinkled:
creased, folded up irregularly in every direction (cf. rugose)

xerophilous:
growing in dry places

xerophyte:
a drought resisting plant

xylem:
vascular tissue concerned with the transport of water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves and often with physical support (cf. phloem)

zygote:
the fertilised egg before it undergoes differentiation; the result of the union between male and female gametes

A Short Botanical Glossary
compiled by Jim Croft
of the Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research
http://www.anbg.gov.au/cpbr/


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