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Wildflowers of the Southern Interior of
British Columbia and adjacent parts of Washington,
Idaho and Montana





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.

Succulent: Juicy.

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.