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Glossary of Botanical Terms

Alternate: describes leaves or flowers arranged singly along a twig or stalk. Compare this to opposite leaves or leaves found in whorls.

Axis: the central line of a cluster of flowers or leaves

Bark: the outermost covering of a tree. Like many aspects of plants in the natural world, bark can show remarkable variation.

Bud: a developing leaf or flower that is usually covered in protective scales

Compound leaf: a leaf that is divided into 3 or more distinct parts, called leaflets

Cone: a cylindrical or conical seed-bearing fruit. They are usually made of many scales organized around a central axis.

Conifer: a cone producing member of the Pine family. They are usually evergreen, though there are exceptions

Cultivated: not grown in the wild. These plants are grown and cared for by people.

Deciduous: describes a tree that sheds its leaves every year

Elliptical: oval shaped

Fruit: the mature seed-bearing ovary of a plant

Gland-dot: a small gland or pore that resembles a dot. They usually secrete a fluid.

Herbaceous: describes any non-woody plant

Leaflet: a leaf-like division of a compound leaf

Needle: the long narrow leaf characteristic of pines

Obovate: oval-shaped, but broader at the tip of the leaf

Ovate: oval-shaped, but broader toward the base, egg-shaped

Palmate: having 3 or more veins, leaves, leaflets originating from a central point

Pinnate: a linear arrangement of veins or leaves, which branch off from a central line

Tendrils: a modified leaf structure that occurs on climbing plants such as vines

Toothed: sharp, tooth-like projections that occur on the sides of some leaves

Whorled: describes an arrangement in which the leaves are arranged in groups of 3 or more around a central point.