Category Archives: Illustrated Glossary

Word of the Week: Peduncle

What’s stalking flowers and foliage? We call leafstalks petioles. Flower stalks, on the other hand, may be referred to as either peduncles or pedicels. A peduncle is the stalk that joins the base of a solitary flower/fruit or a cluster of flowers/fruits (inflorescence/infructescence) to the main stem… Continue reading

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Word of the Week: Deciduous

Deciduous trees fall mostly in the category of broadleaf trees, though there are a few conifers, such as larches and bald cypresses, which also lose their leaves in fall. The word comes from the Latin decidere, to fall off, and applies to trees that lose their leaves regularly in the fall season rather than describing leaf loss caused by drought or disease. Continue reading

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Words of the Week: Plume and Plumule

We all know plumes as feathers on birds, frequently used or misused in past times to decorate ladies’ hats and plumules as the down feathers of birds, still used or misused in outerwear and comforters. In botany there is an actual structure called the plumule, which is the primary bud of a plant embryo or the first shoot. In botanical descriptions we often say a plant has feathery leaves, and the flowers and seed heads of grasses are also often described as feathery or plumose. Continue reading

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Word of the Week: Knee

Knees are commonly seen on cypresses growing in the southeastern United States. They have a conical shape almost like a termite mound, but are not caused by insects. They grow on the upper surface of the horizontal roots, formed from the vascular cambium, the layer that produces the phloem and xylem, passageways for the food and water moving through plants. They have been recorded on trees aged 12 or older. Solid when formed, they may become hollow from rot in old age. Continue reading

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