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Wild Flowers of Nova Scotia (Glossary)

Alien
Not originally native to Nova Scotia; primarily introduced, either intentionally or unintentionally, by European settlement during the 18th and 19th century.
Alluvial
Built up in successive deposits by flooding waters; as in alluvial soil.
Anther
The sac-like part of a stamen, containing pollen.
Axil
The angle formed by the upper side of a leaf and the stem from which it grows.
Basal
Arising from the base.
Bracts
Modified leaves (green or colored), but smaller then them, and found immediately under the calyx.
Calyx
The whorl of leaves (sepals), either separate or grown together, and usually green, forming the outer envelope in which the flower is enclosed while yet in the bud. As Ruskin put it: "The calyx is nothing but the swaddling clothes of the flower; the child-blossom is bound up in it ..."
Composite
A community of flowers on one stem which viewed as a whole looks like a flower. The daisy is a composite.
Corolla
A collective term for the petals.
Corms
A fleshy bulb-like underground stem.
Deciduous
A term used both in botany and zoology: of parts of plants or animals (as leaves, petals, teeth, horns, etc.) which fall off or shed at a particular time, season, or stage of growth.
Elliptic
A stretched circle; oval shaped.
Genus
An expression used both in zoology and biology. I quote the OED: "A classificatory group comprehending a number of species (sometimes a single species) possessing certain common structural characteristics distinct from those of any other group. The determination of genera, and of what characteristics are to be considered generic, is more or less arbitrary and empirical, and admits of continual alteration according to current knowledge of facts and ideas of classification in the respective sciences. The genus ranks next under the family or sub-family, and above the species; it is sometimes divided into sub-genera. The generic and specific names (always in Latin or considered as Latin) together form the scientific proper name of an animal or plant, the generic name standing first and being written with an initial capital."
Inflorescence
Inflorescence is the collective flower or blossom of a plant.
Lanceolate
Applied usually to the description of the leaves; lance-shaped, i.e., much longer than wide and pointed at the end.
Legume
The fruit, or the edible portion of a leguminous plant, e.g., beans and peas. The term, by extension, is used to describe certain vegetables that are used for food.
Nodes
The places on the stem of the plant where leaves or branches are attached.
Ovary
The organ in which the seeds are produced, being the lowest part of the pistil in the flower, which ultimately becomes the fruit or seed-vessel.
Pistil
The female organ of a flower, situated (one or more) in the centre, and comprising (in its complete form) the ovary, style and stigma.
Petiole
The stalk like part of the leaf attaching it to the stem.
Rhizomes
"A prostrate or subterranean root-like stem emitting roots and usually producing leaves at its apex; a rootstock." (OED.)
Pinnate
The word pinnate comes from the Latin word pinnatus, viz., feathered. Anything described as being pinnate thus resembles a feather, having lateral parts or branches on each side of a common axis. Botanically speaking, the word is applied to "a compound leaf having a series of (sessile or stalked) leaflets arranged on each side of a common petiole, the leaflets being usually opposite, sometimes alternate (alterni-pinnate); also to more complex leaves of the same kind, in which the leaflets, thus arranged, are borne on secondary, tertiary, etc. petioles which are themselves similarly arranged (bipinnate, tripinnate, etc.)." (OED.)
Saprophyte
Any vegetable organism that lives on decayed organic matter. "There are other degraded allies of green plants, which are content to work up again the imperfectly broken down products of decay. Such plants are termed Saprophytes." (Encyclopedia Britannica, 1875.)
Sessile
Without a stalk: as in a sessile leaf which lacks a petiole.
Sepal
The distinct segments into which the calyx is divided.
Spadix
A dense spike of tiny flowers, usually enclosed in a spathe, as in members of the Arum family." (Audubon.) (See Jack-in-the Pulpit.)
Sphagnum
A genus of mosses growing in boggy or swampy places; bog-moss, peat-moss; also, one or other of the species or plants composing this genus.
Spathe
A bract or pair of bracts, often large, enclosing the flowers.
Species
A class composed of individuals having some common qualities or characteristics, frequently as a subdivision of a larger class or genus.
Stamen
The protruding male organ of which the flower usually has many and on the top of which sits the anther.
Stigma
That part of the pistil in flowering plants which receives the pollen in impregnation, of very various form, situated either directly on the ovary or at the summit (more rarely the side) of the style.
Stipules
Leaf like appendages along either side of some petioles.
Style
A narrowed prolongation of the ovary, which, when present, supports the stigma at its apex.
Tendril
A slender thread-like organ or appendage of a plant (consisting of a modified stem, branch, flower-stalk, leaf, or part of a leaf), often growing in a spiral form, which stretches out and attaches itself to or twines round some other body so as to support the plant. .
Umbel
As Audubon describes the term: "A flower cluster in which the individual flower stalks grow from the same point, like the ribs of an umbrella." (See, for example, Queen Ann's Lace.)


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Peter Landry

2011