Glossary

Based on Debenham C’s, The Language of Botany, A Publication of The Society for Growing Australian Plants, Chipping Norton NSW, c.1962.
achene: a dry one-seeded fruit with a leathery or membranous skin or shell which remains closed when mature.
acuminate: with the apex acute and tapered to a point.
alternate: of leaves when developed at different levels on opposite side of the stem.
anther: the pollen-producing part of a stamen.
apex: the tip of a leaf, flower part, fruit or stem.
aril: a fleshy outgrowth from the coat of a seed.
base: the bottom of a leaf, flower or fruit where it joins its stem or a branch or of a stem where it joins a branch.
capsule: an enclosed membrane fruit with two or more internal spaces which, when mature and dry, splits open to release seeds.
carpel: the ovary bearing unit of a flower composed typically of a sterile style and a pollen-receptive stigma.
ciliate: fringed with fine soft hairs, as the edges of some leaves.
cladode: a more or less flattened expansion of a stem functioning as a leaf and arising from the axil of a much-reduced true leaf.
conduplicate: folded together lengthwise.
corymb: a racemose inflorescence with flowers brought more or less to a common level by a shortening or lengthening of the stalks, the lowermost and earliest-formed being outermost and opening first.
cypsela: a dry one-seeded fruit formed from an inferior ovary usually with a thin wall, often provided with a parachute-like pappus to aid with wind-dispersal.
dioecious: species having male and female flowers on separate plants.
disc floret: of certain Asteraceae species, Brachyscome, Microseris and Olearia etc., one of the group of inner florets of the head, often tubular and distinct from the outer (peripheral) ray florets.
drupe: a succulent fruit composed of an outer fleshy layer and an inner stony or hard shell enclosing the seed.
elliptic: of a leaf-blade usually corresponding to one tapered equally at both ends, broadest in the middle and from 2 to 3 times as long as broad.
emarginate: of an apex when sharply, or shallow and broadly, notched.
exserted: sticking out; protruding.
filiform: thread like.
floret: in general, a very small flower when a member of a compact inflorescence, especially the capitulum (head) of Asteraceae species.
follicle: a dry and woody capsule containing one or more seeds and splitting open along a single line.
fusiform: of a structure when circular in cross-section, broadest in the middle and tapered evenly to both ends.
glabrous: without hairs or similar covering.
glabrescent: becoming hairless at maturity.
glandular: having small protuberances.
glaucous: of a surface when reflecting a white, pale blue or grey-green colour or sheen given by, e.g., a covering of finely-divided particles of wax or by a structure which disperses (through reflection or refraction) rays of light into certain wavelengths.
gynophore: of a flower, an elongated part of the floral stem from which arise the reproductive and sterile units.
hermaphrodite: having both male pollen bearing stamens and female carpels with their ovaries connected via the styles to the pollen receiving stigmas
hirsute: of a surface when it has rather coarse and stiff hairs.
inflorescence: the part of floral shoot where the flowers are segregated as more or less distinct units.
keel: of a fabaceae species flower, the two lowermost, usually united, petals.
lanceolate: of a leaf or petal when broadest at the centre, 3 times or more as long as broad, tapering to the tip and rounded at the base; in the shape of a lance.
lanuginous: with down like i.e., fine and soft, hairs.
masting: or mast seeding is the simultaneous production of large quantities of seed some years apart by a large number of plants of the same species in the same location, in particular, species which have nuts or fruiting cone.
monoecious: a species which has separate male and female flowers on the same plant.
mucro: a short, hard or flexible point terminating a structure, especially a leaf or petal.
oblanceolate: lanceolate with the broadest part above the middle.
obovate: elliptical with the broadest part at the top.
obovoid: egg-shaped with the broadest part at the top.
ovate: of a leaf or petal when elliptical in broad outline but with the bottom half broader than the top.
panicle: in general, an inflorescence when branched, often in large loose clusters.
pappus: a tuft of bristles.
perennial: persisting for three or more years.
perianth: the single or double whorl of leaf- or bract-like parts of a calyx or corolla. Two whorls may be undifferentiated or a single whorl alone may be present.
persistent: not deciduous or withering away soon after development.
phyllode: a stalk when a more or less flattened expansion and functioning as an entire leaf.
pilose: covered with fine soft hairs.
pinna: (plural pinnae) of a pinnate leaf, a primary leaflet.
pinnate: of a compound leaf when the leaflets grow along a primary spine (rachis) which maybe terminated by a leaflet pair or single leaflet.
pinnatisect: of a leaf approaching the pinniform condition but the divisions from the edges almost or fully reaching the mid-rib without the forming of definite leaflets.
pubescent: covered with short, stiff, silky, down-like hairs.
raceme: a complex flower arrangement where the many individual flowers are supported by short stems along a main stem of indefinite length.
rachis: a primary axis of a flower spike or compound leaf.
ray floret: of Asteraceae, one of the florets of the outermost series of the flower head, commonly strap-like and distinct from the inner disc florets.
reticulate: forming a network as in veins of leaves.
rhizomatous: spreading by underground or under water roots.
scabrous: of a surface when roughened by minute protuberances.
scape: the floral stem or peduncle of an otherwise stemless plant (e,g, a rosette plant) bearing one or more flowers and (usually) scales or bracts.
schizocarp: a dry fruit that splits into single-seeded parts when ripe.
spatulate: of a leaf or petal where the tip is broad and rounded, and tapering to the stem or base, somewhat in the form of a spoon or spatula.
standard: of a fabaceae species flower, the uppermost petal, distinct and usually larger than the other petals.
stellate: in general, radiating from a common centre to appear star like.
striate: of a surface when marked with longitudinal lines or channels; of venation when the veins are several or numerous, fine, and parallel with the edges.
tepal: of a flower, a sepal or a petal.
terete: rounded in cross-section, usually also tapered.
ternate: of leaves when arising in threes from the same node.
tessellated: checkered, marked in a pattern of squares or rectangular shapes.
tomentose: covered with matted hair.
trifoliate: a compound leaf with three leaflets.
tuberculate: bearing small swellings or rounded protuberances, or nodules.
villous: covered with long soft hairs.
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A Guide to Tasmanian Flora
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