Wildflowers of the Southern Interior of
Alternate: Leaves or flower-stems may be arranged on opposite sides of the stems but are not opposite to each other; includes leaves that are arranged spirally up the stem.
Annual: A plant, which dies after completing its life cycle in one year.
Anther: The top part of the stamen that carries the pollen.
Anthocyanins: A type of water-soluble pigment having a red, purple, or blue colour depending on the plant cell pH.
Axil: The upper acute angle formed by the junction of a leaf with the main stem or stem-branch.
Barb: A short bristle with hooked end.
Basal: At the base of the plant.
Binomial Nomenclature: The system of two Latin names given to each species.
Biennial: A plant, which germinates in the first year and dies after blooming in the second year.
Blade: The flat, thin part of a leaf, as distinct from the stalk or petiole.
Bloom: The whitish appearance of some stems and leaves, similar to that on a freshly picked plum.
Bract: Similar to a very small leaf and often scale-like, situated below some flowers or flowerheads or on some stems such as orchids.
Bur: When the involucre is covered with many barbs.
Calyx: That part of a flower below and outside the petals and consisting either of separate sepals, or of joined sepals forming a toothed cup or tube.
Carotenoids: A type of oil-soluble pigment having a yellow or orange colour.
Chlorophyll: A type of pigment used in photosynthesis, giving a green colour to plant tissues.
Chloroplast: A type of plastid containing chlorophyll.
Chromoplast: A type of plastid containing pigments other than chlorophyll.
Clasping: When the base of a leaf is partly wrapped around the plant stem or stem-branches.
Cleft: A leaf blade may be almost divided into segments when it is cut or cleft halfway or almost to the midrib.
Cluster: Flowers or fruits grouped together.
Coniferous: Cone-bearing, usually evergreen trees, such as fir and pine.
Corolla: Collective term for the petals which are inside the sepals.
Deciduous: Trees or shrubs whose leaves fall.
Dichotomous Key: A tool in identification of plants. You are presented with 2 opposing questions at a time, and follow the key until you have identified the nomenclature for your plant.
Disk-flower: One of many flowers forming the central disk of a daisy family flowerhead.
Dissected: Finely cut into narrow segments, usually pertaining to leaves.
Entire: Not toothed, lobed, or divided.
Flavonols: A type of pigment having a white or cream colour.
Flowerhead: A tight cluster of small flowers as in the daisy family.
Fruit: The ripened ovary containing seeds, such as a berry or pod.
Genus: The term for a group of closely related species (pl. genera).
Globular: Round and ball-like, globe-shaped.
Hairy: Visible hairs on a leaf, stem, or calyx.
Herbaceous: Plants with soft, green stems as opposed to woody.
Hierarchy: The successive grouping of closely related organisms into larger and larger groups. Species are grouped into a genus, then genera into a family, families into an order, orders into a class, classes into a phylum, and phyla into a kingdom.
Hood: When petals arch or curve to form a hood, as in the mint family.
Insectivorus: A plant such as Butterwort that is capable of digesting the juices of insects by secretions from the leaves.
Individual: Flowers arranged individually on a plant (not in groups). This includes one flower per stem, or many flowers spaced along a branch.
Inflorescence: Flowers arranged in a group or cluster.
Involucre: A circle or circles of bracts beneath a flowerhead as in the daisy family.
Irregular: A flower in which the petals and or sepals are not all alike.
Keel: Pertaining to a leaf such as that of an iris, which is folded at the edges to form a longitudinal ridge down the back.
Lance-shaped: A leaf that is longer than broad and tapers slightly at the base and gradually tapers upwards to a point.
Lateral: At the sides.
Leaf-axil: The upper acute angle formed by the junction of a leaf with the main stem or stem-branch.
Liana: Climbing plant with woody stems.
Lip: The lower petal forming a lip as in the orchid and mint families.
Lobe: The rounded segment of a leaf or petal.
Locality: The area where a plant is found growing. Characteristics like temperature, humidity, wind, etc. are what differentiate between different locals.
Margin: The edge of a leaf or petal.
Midrib: The central and main vein of a leaf.
Node: The point on a stem where a leaf is attached.
Nomenclature: The hierarchy of categories given to a species; includes kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.
Opposite: When 2 leaves are arranged on opposite sides of the stem and are opposite each other.
Organelle: A small structure within a plant cell completely surrounded by a membrane.
Ovary: The swollen part of the pistil, below the style, containing the seeds and later becoming the fruit.
Palate: The raised part of the lower lip of the corolla, which may close or partly close the throat, as in Toadflax.
Parasite: A plant that obtains its food from another living plant.
Perennial: A plant that lives and reproduces for several years; the stems and leaves may die each year, but portions close to or below the ground remain perennial.
Petal: The usually coloured, conspicuous inner circle of flat blades just inside the calyx of a flower. Petals may be all the same as in a Buttercup or of different shapes and sizes as in a Lupine or joined to form a tube as in a Penstemon.
pH: A measure of the hydrogen ion concentration in an aqueous solution.
Phylum: The term for a group of closely related classes (pl. phyla).
Pigment: The compound(s) present within the plant that gives it colour.
Pistil: The female part of a flower, comprising the ovary, stigma, and style.
Plastids: Membrane bound organelles used for food manufacturing (photosynthesis) and storage.
Pollen: The fine powder carried by the anthers of the stamens.
Ray-flower: One of the several outer flowers of the daisy family, strap-like and often called a petal. The ray-flowers may surround the disk-flowers.
Receptacle: The broadened upper end of a flower stem which bears the flower parts.
Recurved: Curved backwards or outwards such as the upper petal of a Lupine.
Reflexed: Bent backwards or outwards.
Regular: A flower in which the petals and sepals are all alike.
Root-stock: An underground stem from which stems above ground arise.
Rosette: A circular cluster of leaves usually at the base of a plant.
Saprophyte: A plant that obtains its food from dead organic matter.
Scientific Name: Specific Name, or Species.
Sepal: One of two or more parts of the calyx, usually green and pointed but may be petal-like and of any colour.
Serrated: Finely and regularly-toothed, like the teeth of a saw, pertaining to leaves.
Sheath: The lowest part of some leaves which are wrapped around the main stem as in the Cattail.
Sheathing: Wrapping completely around the stem; pertaining to leaves.
Single: One flower per plant. Single flower plants often grow in clumps, appearing to be one individually flowered plant.
Spadix: A thick, fleshy stem bearing small flowers as in the Skunk Cabbage.
Spathe: A large pointed bract enclosing the spadix as in the Skunk Cabbage.
Specific Epithet: The second part of the specific name; follows the genus name.
Spike: Elongated cluster of small stalkless or very short stalked flowers at the upper end of stem.
Spur: An elongated horn-like extension of a petal or petals as in the Violet.
Stalk: The narrow part of a leaf joining the blade to the plant-stem; also called the petiole.
Stamen: The male, pollen-bearing part of a flower consisting of a filament and an anther.
Standard: The upper, usually erect and recurved petal in Pea family flowers, also called the banner.
Sterile: Infertile, as a stamen without an anther cannot produce pollen.
Stigma: The sticky, uppermost part of the pistil and terminating the style.
Stipules: Small leaf-like structures at the junction of some leaf-stalks with the stem, as in some Vetches.
Style: That part of the pistil which joins the ovary and stigma.
Taxonomy: The discipline within Biology that deals with the nomenclature and organization of species into genera, genera into families, etc.
Tendril: The slender, coiling thread-like extension of a modified leaf or stem, used for climbing, as in Clematis.
Tepals: When petals and sepals are all alike, as in Death-Camas and some other members of the Lily family.
Terminal: At the top of a stem or end of a leaf.
Toothed: Pointed, tooth-like projections on margins of leaves, coarser than serrations.
Trailing: Lying on the ground but not rooting; pertaining to stems as in Morning Glory.
Tubular: Tube or funnel-shaped, when petals or sepals are joined, as in Scarlet Gilia.
Umbrella-like: Flat-topped flower cluster with stalks radiating from a central point like ribs of an umbrella (also known as umbel).
Whorl: A circle of leaves round the stem, as in Bunchberry.
Wings: The two side petals in flowers of the Pea family.