Glossary of Asteraceae-related terms

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Following is a glossary of terms used to describe the Asteraceae family of flowering plants.


The dictionary definition of accrescent at Wiktionary

  • Growing larger after flowering.[1]


Achene ready to take flight.

The dictionary definition of achene at Wiktionary

  • A small, dry, indehiscent fruit, containing a single seed, as in the buttercup; -- called a naked seed by the earlier botanists.[1]
  • small dry indehiscent fruit with the seed distinct from the fruit wall[2]


The dictionary definition of auriculate at Wiktionary

  • one having small appended leaves or lobes on each side of its petiole or base.[1]


Stamen with anther, filament and petal.

The dictionary definition of anther at Wiktionary

  • That part of the stamen containing the pollen, or fertilizing dust, which, when mature, is emitted for the impregnation of the ovary.[1]
  • the part of the stamen that contains pollen; usually borne on a stalk[2]



The dictionary definition of apical at Wiktionary

  • At or belonging to an apex, tip, or summit.[1]
  • situated at an apex[2]


The dictionary definition of basal at Wiktionary

  • Relating to, or forming, the base.[1]
  • especially of leaves; located at the base of a plant or stem; especially arising directly from the root or rootstock or a root-like stem[2]


Bracts protect an inflorescence.

The dictionary definition of bract at Wiktionary

  • A leaf, usually smaller than the true leaves of a plant, from the axil of which a flower stalk arises.
  • Any modified leaf, or scale, on a flower stalk or at the base of a flower.[1]
  • a modified leaf or leaflike part just below and protecting an inflorescence[2]


A. flower with calyx
B. Underside of calyx
C. Topside of calyx

The dictionary definition of calyx at Wiktionary

  • The covering of a flower.
    • Note: The calyx is usually green and foliaceous, but becomes delicate and petaloid in such flowers as the anemone and the four-o'clock. Each leaf of the calyx is called a sepal.[1]
  • the whorl of sepals of a flower collectively forming the outer floral envelope or layer of the perianth enclosing and supporting the developing bud; usually green[2]


The dictionary definition of canescent at Wiktionary

  • Growing white, or assuming a color approaching to white.[1]
  • covered with fine whitish hairs or down[2]


The dictionary definition of caulis at Wiktionary

  • Growing immediately on a caulis; of or pertaining to a caulis.
    • caulis: An herbaceous or woody stem which bears leaves, and may bear flowers.[1]
  • (botany) producing a well-developed stem above ground[2]
  • especially of leaves; growing on a stem especially on the upper part of a stem[2]


The dictionary definition of corolla at Wiktionary

  • The inner envelope of a flower; the part which surrounds the organs of fructification, consisting of one or more leaves, called petals. It is usually distinguished from the calyx by the fineness of its texture and the gayness of its colors.[1]
  • the whorl of petals of a flower that collectively form an inner floral envelope or layer of the perianth; "we cultivate the flower for its corolla"[2]


The dictionary definition of corymb at Wiktionary

  • A flat-topped or convex cluster of flowers, each on its own footstalk, and arising from different points of a common axis, the outermost blossoms expanding first[1]
  • flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the individual flower stalks grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same height; outer flowers open first[2]


The dictionary definition of cotyledon at Wiktionary

  • A leaf borne by the caulicle or radicle of an embryo; a seed leaf.
    • Note: Many plants, as the bean and the maple, have two cotyledons, the grasses only one, and pines have several. In one African plant Welwitschia the cotyledons are permanent and grow to immense proportions.[1]
  • embryonic leaf in seed-bearing plants
    • synonym cotyledon[2]


  • A one-seeded, one-celled, indehiscent fruit; an achene with the calyx tube adherent.[1]


Dentate leaves.

The dictionary definition of dentate at Wiktionary

  • Toothed; especially, with the teeth projecting straight out, not pointed either forward or backward; as, a dentate leaf.[1]
  • having toothlike projections in the margin[2]


The dictionary definition of dicotyledon at Wiktionary

  • A plant whose seeds divide into two seed lobes, or cotyledons, in germinating.
    • synonym: dicotyledon[1]
  • flowering plant with two cotyledons; the stem grows by deposit on its outside[2]


The dictionary definition of epidermis at Wiktionary

  • The outermost layer of the cells, which covers both surfaces of leaves, and also the surface of stems, when they are first formed. As stems grow old this layer is lost, and never replaced.[1]


The dictionary definition of extirpate at Wiktionary

  • To pluck up by the stem or root; to root out; to eradicate, literally or figuratively; to destroy wholly; as, to extirpate weeds[1]
  • pull up by or as if by the roots; "uproot the vine that has spread all over the garden"[2]


The dictionary definition of fecund at Wiktionary

  • Fruitful in children; prolific.[1]
  • capable of producing offspring or vegetation[2]


Stamen with anther, filament and petal.

The dictionary definition of filament at Wiktionary

  • the threadlike part of the stamen supporting the anther.[1]
  • the stalk of a stamen[2]


Many florets make this flower head.

The dictionary definition of floret at Wiktionary

  • A little flower; one of the numerous little flowers which compose the head or anthodium in such flowers as the daisy, thistle, and dandelion.[1]
  • a diminutive flower (especially one that is part of a composite flower)[2]


The dictionary definition of folium#Latin at Wiktionary

  • Belonging to, or having the texture or nature of, a leaf; having leaves intermixed with flowers; as, a foliaceous spike.[1]
  • bearing numerous leaves[2]


The dictionary definition of forb at Wiktionary

  • A broad-leaved herb other than a grass, especially one growing in a field, prairie, or meadow.[3]


The dictionary definition of fructification at Wiktionary

  • L. fructificatio: cf.F. fructification.[1]
    1. The act of forming or producing fruit; the act of fructifying, or rendering productive of fruit; fecundation.
    2. (Botany)
      • The collective organs by which a plant produces its fruit, or seeds, or reproductive spores.
      • The process of producing fruit, or seeds, or spores.
  • the bearing of fruit[2]


The dictionary definition of glabrous at Wiktionary

  • Smooth; having a surface without hairs or any unevenness.[1]
  • having no hair or similar growth; smooth; "glabrous stems"; "glabrous leaves"; "a glabrous scalp"[2]


The dictionary definition of glutinous at Wiktionary

  • Having a moist and adhesive or sticky surface, as a leaf or gland.[1]
  • having the sticky properties of an adhesive[2]


The dictionary definition of hoary at Wiktionary

  • Covered with short, dense, grayish white hairs; canescent.[1]
  • covered with fine whitish hairs or down[2]


The dictionary definition of indehiscent at Wiktionary

  • Indehiscent—Remaining closed at maturity, or not opening along regular lines, as the acorn, or a coconut.[1]
  • (of e.g. fruits) not opening spontaneously at maturity to release seeds[2]



The dictionary definition of inflorescence at Wiktionary

  • The mode of flowering, or the general arrangement and disposition of the flowers with reference to the axis, and to each other.
  • An axis on which all the buds are flower buds.[1]
  • the flowering part of a plant or arrangement of flowers on a stalk[2]


Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris) has a conspicuous ring of green bracts encircling its yellow florets.

The dictionary definition of involucre at Wiktionary

  • A whorl or set of bracts around a flower, umbel, or head.[1]
  • a highly conspicuous bract or bract pair or ring of bracts at the base of an inflorescence[2]


Smooth aster (Symphyotrichum laeve) has purple or blue laminae (enlarged petals), which extend outwards from the ray florets that encircle the yellow disc florets in the center of its flowerhead.

The dictionary definition of lamina at Wiktionary

  • The blade of a leaf; the broad, expanded portion of a petal or sepal of a flower.[1]


  • A strap-shaped corolla[1]
  • any appendage to a plant that is shaped like a strap[2]


The dictionary definition of ovary at Wiktionary

  • That part of the pistil which contains the seed, and in most flowering plants develops into the fruit.[1]
  • the organ that bears the ovules of a flower[2]


The dictionary definition of ovule at Wiktionary

  • The rudiment of a seed. It grows from a placenta, and consists of a soft nucleus within two delicate coatings.[1]
  • a small body that contains the female germ cell of a plant; develops into a seed after fertilization[2]


  • a tiny outgrowth on the surface of a petal or leaf[2]


  • pappus
  • The hairy or feathery appendage of the achenes of thistles, dandelions, and most other plants of the order {Composit[ae]}; also, the scales, awns, or bristles which represent the calyx in other plants of the same order.[1]
  • calyx composed of scales or bristles or featherlike hairs in plants of the Compositae such as thistles and dandelions[2]


  • When a plant bears multiple capitula, the stalk of an individual capitulum may be called the pedicel.[4]


The dictionary definition of peduncle at Wiktionary

  • The stem or stalk that supports the flower or fruit of a plant, or a cluster of flowers or fruits.[1]
  • stalk bearing an inflorescence or solitary flower[2]


The dictionary definition of perianth at Wiktionary

  • The leaves of a flower generally, especially when the calyx and corolla are not readily distinguished.[1]
  • collective term for the outer parts of a flower consisting of the calyx and corolla and enclosing the stamens and pistils[2]



The dictionary definition of pericarp at Wiktionary

  • The ripened ovary; the walls of the fruit.[1]
  • the ripened and variously modified walls of a plant ovary[2]



The dictionary definition of petiole at Wiktionary

  • A leafstalk; the footstalk of a leaf, connecting the blade with the stem.[1]
  • the slender stem that supports the blade of a leaf[2]


The dictionary definition of pinnate at Wiktionary

  • Consisting of several leaflets, or separate portions, arranged on each side of a common petiole[1]
  • (of a leaf shape) featherlike; having leaflets on each side of a common axis[2]


The dictionary definition of pistil at Wiktionary

  • The seed-bearing organ of a flower. It consists of an ovary, containing the ovules or rudimentary seeds, and a stigma, which is commonly raised on an elongated portion called a style. When composed of one carpel a pistil is simple; when composed of several, it is compound.[1]
  • the female ovule-bearing part of a flower composed of ovary and style and stigma[2]


The dictionary definition of pollen at Wiktionary

  • The fecundating dustlike cells of the anthers of flowers.[1]
  • the fine spores that contain male gametes and that are borne by an anther in a flowering plant[2]


The dictionary definition of revolute at Wiktionary

  • Rolled backward or downward.
    • Note: A revolute leaf is coiled downwards, with the lower surface inside the coil. A leaf with revolute margins has the edges rolled under[1]

From Glossary of botanical terms:

  • rolled under (downwards or backwards), for example when the edges of leaves are rolled under towards the midrib; compare involute.


  • Thin, dry, membranous, and not green.[1]


The dictionary definition of sessile at Wiktionary

  • Resting directly upon the main stem or branch, without a petiole or footstalk; as, a sessile leaf or blossom.[1]
  • attached directly by the base; not having an intervening stalk; stalkless[2]


The dictionary definition of spatulate at Wiktionary

  • Shaped like spatula, or like a battledore, being roundish, with a long, narrow, linear base.[1]
  • (of a leaf shape) having a broad rounded apex and a narrow base[2]
  • see ligule


Stamen with anther, filament and petal.

The dictionary definition of stamen at Wiktionary

  • The male organ of flowers for secreting and furnishing the pollen or fecundating dust. It consists of the anther and filament.[1]
  • the male reproductive organ of a flower[2]


The dictionary definition of stigma at Wiktionary

  • stigma
  • That part of a pistil which has no epidermis, and is fitted to receive the pollen. It is usually the terminal portion, and is commonly somewhat glutinous or viscid.[1]
  • the apical end of the style where deposited pollen enters the pistil[2]


A. ovary
B. pappus
C. theca
D. ligule
E. style with stigma

The dictionary definition of style at Wiktionary

  • style
  • stylus a style or writing instrument, manner or writing, mode of expression; probably for stiglus, meaning, a pricking instrument, and akin to E. stick.
    • Hence, anything resembling the ancient style in shape or use. Specifically: The elongated part of a pistil between the ovary and the stigma.[1]
  • the narrow elongated part of the pistil between the ovary and the stigma[2]


  • A sheath; a case; as, the theca, or cell, of an anther[1]
  • a case or sheath especially a pollen sac[2]


The dictionary definition of tomentose at Wiktionary

  • Covered with matted woolly hairs[1]
    1. covered with densely matted filaments
    2. densely covered with short matted woolly hairs[2]


  • The closely matted hair or downy nap covering the leaves or stems of some plants.[1]
  • filamentous hairlike growth on a plant[2]


The dictionary definition of tubular at Wiktionary

  • Having the form of a tube, or pipe; a tubular calyx.[1]


The dictionary definition of villous at Wiktionary

  • Villous has been defined as "Abounding in, or covered with, fine hairs, or a woolly substance; shaggy with soft hairs; nappy",[1] but is usually distinguished from "tomentose", which means woolly, and restricted to coverings of long, fine, unmatted, or straight hair.[4][5][6]


The dictionary definition of viscid at Wiktionary

  • Sticking or adhering, and having a ropy or glutinous consistency; viscous; glutinous; sticky; tenacious; clammy; as, turpentine, tar, gums, etc., are more or less viscid.[1]
  • having the sticky properties of an adhesive[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb This article incorporates text from a work in the public domainPorter, Noah, ed. (1913). "Webster's entry needed". Webster's Dictionary. Springfield, Massachusetts: C. & G. Merriam Co. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av WordNet. "a lexical database for the English language". Cognitive Science Laboratory of Princeton University. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  3. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (2000). "American Heritage Dictionary Online". Houghton Mifflin, Boston. Archived from the original on 2008-02-20. Retrieved 2008-02-24. 
  4. ^ a b Beentje, H.; Williamson, J. (2010). The Kew Plant Glossary: an Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Terms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Kew Publishing. 
  5. ^ Stearn, W.T. (1992). Botanical Latin: History, grammar, syntax, terminology and vocabulary, Fourth edition. David and Charles. 
  6. ^ Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press.