KNP Rare Plants Database

KY Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves


Flower Diagram Flower Arrangements
Leaf Shapes Leaf Margins, Apices and Bases


A-C  /   D-M  /   N-R  /   S-Z

A - C
achene - a small dry fruit.
acuminate - tapering to a point.
acute - sharply pointed but not drawn out.
adpressed - lying flat for the length of the organ.
adventitious - applied to roots, those which do not arise from the radicle but from another part of the plant, usually the stem.
annual - a plant which completes its life cycle within a year.
anther - the part of the stamen which contains the pollen.
apiculate - tipped with an apiculus, a short, sharp point.
appressed - lying close to.
aristate - awned.
attenuate - tapered.
auriculate - having a small projecting lobe (and auricle) at the base of an organ.
awn - a stiff hairy bristle.
axil - the angle between the axis (stem or branch) and the part arising from it (leaf or bract).
axillary - growing in an axil.
basal - located at the base of the plant or of an organ of the plant.
biennial - a plant that completes its full life-cycle in two years.
bifid - divided into two parts.
bilabiate - having two lips.
bract - a modified leaf associated with the flowering part of the plant.
callus - swollen nodes of the central stem of a grass.
calyx - the outer series of leaf-like segments of the flower which is usually green in color, it may be large and colorful, present or absent.It encloses the flower while it is still a bud.
campanulate - bell-shaped.
capitate - applied to an inflorescence in which the flowers form a head.
capsule - a dry, dehiscent fruit.
caudex - the stem of a plant.
ciliate - fringed with hairs, as on the margin of the corolla lobes in some of the stapelieae.
clavate - club-shaped, thickened towards the top.
cordate - heart-shaped.
coriaceous - leathery.
corona - in the stapelieae, a crown-like portion of the staminal column, usually with the inner and outer lobes.
crenate - notched or scalloped.
crisped - with a curled or twisted edge.
cuneate - wedge-shaped.
cyme - an inflorescence in which the lateral axis grows more strongly than the main axis.

D - M
deciduous - falling off or shed at a specific season or stage of growth.
decumbent - laying or growing on the ground but the tips are erect or growing upright.
deltoid - broadly triangular
elliptic - having a shape of a flattened circle.
entire - without toothing, a smooth margin.
exserted - protruded beyond.
filament - the stalk of an anther.
filiform - threadlike
glabrous - smooth without any pubescence.
glaucous - sea-green or covered in bloom.
globose - nearly spherical.
habit - general appearance of the plant.
hirsute - hairy, with long distinct hairs.
hispid - with rough hairs or bristles.
hyaline - translucent or transparent
inflorescence - a special branch-system which bears flowers.
internode - portion of the stem between two nodes.
involucre - a ring of bracts that surround one to many flowers.
keel - a longitudinal ridge, at the back of the leaf.
lacerate - torn.
laciniate - cut into narrow lobes.
lanceolate - lance-shaped, tapering from a broad base to the apex.
lax - loose or limp, not densely arranged.
linear - narrow with nearly parallel sides.

N - R
node - the part of the stem that gives rise to the leaf and bud.
obtuse - with a blunt or rounded tip.
orbicular - flat with a circular outline, disc-like.
ovary - the part of the pistil which contains the ovules (immature fruit).
ovate - egg-shaped, usually with reference to two dimensions.
palmate - flat and lobed.
panicle - a compound inflorescence in which the main axis bears lateral racemes or spikes.
papillose - covered with papillae.
pedicel - the stalk of the flower.
peduncle - the axis from which the flower pedicel arises.
pellucid - admitting the passage of light; transparent or translucent
peltate - with the petiole attached to the lower surface of the leaf blade.
perennial - a plant that continues its life cycle for more than two years.
perianth - the two outer whorls of the Angiosperm flower; commonly used when the calyx and the corolla are not readily distinguishable (as in monocotyledons).
periginia - a sac like bract that covers that fruit in the sedge genus Carex.
petiole - the stalks of the leaf.
pinnatifid - a pinnately parted leaf, dividing almost to the midrib.
procumbent - trailing on the ground without rooting.
prostate - flat on the ground.
pubescent - covered with short soft hairs.
raceme - an inflorescence with a single axis bearing pedicellate flowers.
rachis - central portion or axis of a structure that has lateral divisions
reflexed - abruptly bent backwards.
reniform - kidney-shaped
reticulate - having the appearance of a network.
revolute - rolled back at the margin.
rhizome - a prostrate or underground stem which generally grows horizontally.
rosette - used to describe a cluster of densely spiralled leaves.
rugose - covered with wrinkles.

S - Z
scabrous - rough to the touch.
scale - a small, thin, flat structure
secund - with the flowers all turned in the same direction
sepal - a part of the calyx that is usually green
serrated - with teeth on the margin.
serrulate - with minute teeth on the margin.
sessile - without a stalk.
simple - unbranched.
sinuate - deeply wave (margin), tortuous.
sorus - a cluster of sporangia (the structure where spores are produced)
spathulate - also written spatulate, shaped like a spatula with the distal end broad.
spike - an elongate infloresence with sessile flowers
stamen - the pollen-bearing male element of the flower.
staminode - a sterile or abortive stamen.
stigma - the part of the stigma receptive to pollen.
stipule - refers to the small appendages at the base of the leaf.
stolon - a runner or any basal branch which roots.
stoma - an aperture in the epidermis, plural stomata.
style - the part of the pistil between the stigma and ovary.
taxon - the taxonomic group of plants of any rank.
terete - circular in transverse section.
ternate - in threes.
trichome - a hair-like outgrowth of the epidermis.
trifid - cleft into three pieces.
trigonous - three-angled.
tripartite - consisting of three parts.
truncate - cut off as though shortened.
tubercle - a knob-like projection on the stem or leaf.
umbel - an inflorescence of pedicellate flowers of almost equal length arising from the apex of the peduncle.
urceolate - shaped like a jug or pitcher.
valve - one of the portions into which a capsule separates when ripe.
verrucose - warty.
villose or villous - covered with long, fine, soft hairs.
whorl - a circle of leaves, sepals, stames or other organs around an axis.
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Data Last Updated: November 2018
Office of Kentucky Nature Preserves
300 Sower Blvd
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
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