Glossary - Terminology
Common Forest Plants of Northwestern Ontario

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Alternate attached singly on a stem; not opposite or whorled (see pictorial glossary).
Awn a narrow, terminal bristle.
Axil the upper angle between a branch or leaf stalk and the stem from which it grows.
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Basal referring to the base of a plant.
Berry fleshy fruit of a plant with a pulpy interior, containing seeds.
Bipinnate twice-divided in a pinnate structure; generally on ferns (see pictorial glossary).
Blade the flat, expanded part of a leaf, sepal or petal.
Bog open or sparsely treed wetland area poor in mineral mutrients where water is supplied exclusively by precipitation; typically acidic.
Bract a specialized leaf with a single flower or inflorescence growin in its axil.
Branchlet a small branch or twig, generally referring to the most recent year's growth.
Bristle a stiff hair.
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Capsule a dry fruit, generally containing two or more seeds, that splits into sections when mature; also a spore-bearing part of a moss sporophyte.
Catkin a thick spike of small male or female flowers without petals.
Ciliate bordered with hairs.
Clasping generally pertaining to leaves which partially surround a stem.
Compound (leaf) consisting of two or more leaves which partially surround a stem.
Cubic cube-shaped.
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Dioecious having the male and female reproductive organs on the same plant.
Double-toothed with two different sizes of teeth lining the margins of coarse teeth (see pictorial glossary).
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Egg-shaped (ovate) broader at one end than the other, like the lengthwise cross-section of an egg; attached at the wider end (see pictorial glossary).
Elliptic widest in the middle and tapering equally toward both ends (see pictorial glossary).
Entire margins without teeth, lobes or divisions (see pictorial glossary).
Erect-spreading spreading at an angle of approximately 45 degrees.
Ericaceous Species affiliated with the family Ericaceae (Heath Family).
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Fascicle a bundle of branches or leaves.
Feathermoss a group of mosses typically with a prostate growth habit and pinnately branched stems.
Fen an open or lightly treed wetland habitat, more mineral-rich than a bog due because of available groundwater; typically acidic to alkaline.
Floret a small flower, one of many making up the head of a composite flower.
Foliose in lichens, a leaf-like growth.
Frond the compound leaf of a fern; in mosses, a stem closely and regularly branched in one plane, resembling a fern leaf.
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Glandular-hairy containing hair-shaped structures, each with a swollen tip secreteing oils, waxy material or other substances.
Glaucous covered with a waxy or powdery bloom.
Glume a bract at the base of a spikelet in the Grass Family.
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Head a dense flower cluster or inflorescence with individual flowers stalkless or on very short stalk.
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Internode the stem section between two adjacent nodes.
Inversely Egg-shaped
egg-shaped, attached at the narrow end (see pictorial glossary).
Inversely Lance-shaped
lance-shaped, attached at the narrow end (see pictorial glossary).
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Key common term for the fruit of maples and ashes; a dry, winged fruit which does not open at maturity. Also known as a samara.
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shaped like a lance-head, considerably longer than wide, tapering towards the tip from below the middle; attached at the broad end (see pictorial glossary).
Lateral on or from the side of an organ.
Leaf Scar the mark left on a stem after a leaf falls off.
Leaflet single part of a compound leaf.
Ligule in grasses, the thin outgrowth from the inner surface of a leaf where the sheath and blade join.
Linear very narrow and elongated, having parallel sides (see pictorial glossary).
Lobe a sub-division of an organ such as a leaf (see pictorial glossary).
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Mesotrophic of a moderately rich or productive habitat.
Monoecious having the male and female reproductive organs in separate flowers on the same plant.
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Node the point on a stem where a leaf, bud or branch arises; in grasses, a noticable swelling or joint occurs at each node.
Nut a hard, dry, single-seeded fruit which does not open at maturity.
Nutlet a small nut.
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Oblong longer than wide having parallel sides (see pictorial glossary).
Opposite as leaves appearing in pairs, on the same node, on opposite sides of a stem (see pictorial glossary).
Orbicular circular or spherical.
Oval broadly elliptical (see pictorial glossary).
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Panicle an elongated, branched inflorescence; a compond raceme.
Perennial a plant that usually lives more than two years.
Peregynium a bract which encloses the seed of a sage plant.
Petal a division of the inner set of leaf-like flower parts, usually coloured.
Petiole the stalk which attaches a leaf to the plant.
Pinnate divided, as with a compound leaf, so the segments are arranged on two sides of a middle axis; featherlike in appearance (see pictorial glossary).
Pinnatifid cleft in a pinnate manner; appearing pinnately divided; generally of ferns (see pictorial glossary).
Pistillate unisexual flower having only female reproductive organs.
Pith the soft, fibrous inner part of a stem or fruit.
Pod a dry fruit, consisting of a long, two-valved case encasing the seeds, especially of the pea family.
Podetia the hollow, upright structures of club lichens..
Polygamous having having male, female and hermaphrodite flowers on the same plant or on separate plants of the same species.
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Raceme an inflorescence where the flowers are borne along the main stem.
Ray one of the showy, petal-like florets surrounding the flower head in the Aster Family.
Reticulate in the form of a network, as the veins of a leaf.
Rhizome a horizontal, underground stem system of roots and leafy stems.
Rosette a circular leaf cluster, usually at the base of a plant.
Runner a very slender, wiry stem, as in the strawberry, that grows along the surface of the soil and propagates by producing roots and shoots at the node at the tip. Also known as a stolon.
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Samara a dry, winged, one-seeded fruit. Also known as key fruit.
Saprophyte a plant, generally without green colour, which derives its food from dead, organic matter.
Scale a thin, reduced leaf or bract; in cones of conifer trees the scales are woody and enclose the seeds.
Scythe-shaped Curving prominently to one side; like a scythe.
Sepal a part of the outer set of leaf-like flower partsthe, generally green.
Sheath a tube-like which covers another part of a plant, as in the lower portion of the leaf of grasses and sedges which surrounds the stem.
Spikelet the smallest flower cluster in graminoids.
Spine a prickly, woody outgrowth from a stem; a thorn.
Sporophyte a spore-bearing plant.
Squamule a small, scale-like growth at the base of club lichens.
Stalk the stem of a leaf, flower or moss capsule.
Staminate unisexual (flower) with only male reproductive organs.
Stipule a small, leaf-like growth at the base of a leafstalk.
Stolon from the base of a plant, a creeping, horizontal branch or stem which produces new shoots.
Style the stalk of the pistil which connects the ovary to the stigma.
Sub-orbicular almost circular or spherical.
Sub-tripinnate almost tripinnate; not quite fully three times divided; usually in ferns (see pictorial glossary).
Succulent fleshy, juicy.
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Tendril a slim, twisting outgrowth from a stem or leaf; used for climbing or support, like in vines.
Terminal at the tip or end of an organ.
Thorn a sharp spine.
Transverse across the breadth of an organ.
having three leaflets (see pictorial glossary).
Tripinnate completely three-times divided in a pinnate manner, as in ferns. (see pictorial glossary).
Tuber a short, fleshy underground stem or root.
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Variety a taxonomic definition below the rank of species.
Venation the arrangement of veins on a leaf.
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Whorl a collection of three or more similar organs projecting from a node (see pictorial glossary).
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