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A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers (and fruit) attached along the secondary branches, as a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes.
This type of inflorescence is largely characteristic of grasses such as oat and crabgrass, as well as other plants such as pistachio and mamoncillo. Botanists use the term paniculate in two ways: "having a true panicle inflorescence" as well as "having an inflorescence with the form but not necessarily the structure of a panicle".
A corymb is similar to a panicle with the same branching structure, but with the lower flowers having longer stems, thus giving a flattish top superficially resembling an umbel. Many species in the Maloideae, such as hawthorns and rowans, produce their flowers in corymbs.
A thyrse is a compact panicle having an obscured main axis and cymose subaxes, making its paniculate nature hard to discern. Many Ceanothus species have thyrsiform inflorescences, e.g. Ceanothus thyrsiflorus, Ornithogalum thyrsoides.
- Technically, the inflorescence unit in a grass is the spikelet, but the arrangement of spikelets along the main stem axis is described using inflorescence terminology.