This glossary is intended to define the botanical terms that may be used in the catalog. It is usually easier to use these words than to rely on a long string of common words to describe a particular condition. There may be a pop quiz on these.


Adpressed   Flattened against the stem, branch or leaf.
Apex   The uppermost point.
Appressed   The same as adpressed.
Basal   At or very near the base.
Bi-lobed   Having two lobes.
Bonsai   A plant giving a stunted or miniature appearance.
Bristles   Stiff hairs.
Bulbils   Small bulbs or plantlets usually above ground.
Bulbous   Bulblike.
C.F.   Compares favorably. Botanist code for "I'm not sure"!
Caudex   The combined thickened stem and root.
Caudiciform   Having a caudex.
Cephalium   A wooly outgrowth at the apex of the stem of some Cactaceae, on which the flowers are borne.
Cholla   A common name given to rounded stemmed Opuntias
Clones   Genetically identical.
Dehiscence The opening of an anther or fruit along a regular line(s) of cleavage.
Distichously   In two rows; in two vertical ranks.
Euphorb   A common name used for plants in the family EUPHORBIACEAE.
Exfoliating   Separating in flakes or plates, as often the outer bark.
Filiferous   Bearing threads, as sometimes the leaf margin.
Genus   A group of related species; below family.
Glaucous   A light bluish-grey color.
Globose   Spherical or nearly so.
Habitat   The kind of situation in which a plant grows, as woods, meadows, desert, etc.
Inflorescence   The group of flowers named collectively; their arrangement on the stem.
Interspecific cross   A hybrid between two species of the same genus.
Keel   A central, dorsal ridge like the keel of a boat.
Lateral   At the side, not central or terminal.
Lobe   A usually more or less rounded projection of a deeply indented leaf.
Madusa head   Numerous branches radiating from a central stem.
Mesembs   A common name applied to plants in the genus Aizoaceae (formerly Mesembryanthemaceae).
Monotypic   A genus with only one species.
Nomenclature   Name designation, the standardized new Latin names used in Biology.
Ovoid   Egg shaped.
Palmate   Lobed or veined outwardly from the base, like fingers of a hand.
Pedicel   The stalk of a flower.
Prickly pear   A common name given to the flat padded Opuntias.
Prostrate   Flat on the ground.
Rosette   A cluster of basal leaves, symmetrically arranged.
Semi-bi-lobed   Partly having two lobes.
Semi-cylindrical   Nearly circular in cross section.
Serrate   Saw-edged, with sharp teeth.
Stapeliad   A common name used when speaking about plants of the family Asclepidaceae.
Succulent   Fleshy, thick and juicy.
Symmetrical   Regular, capable of division into two like parts.
Synonymy   Old names for the same plant.
Tomentose   Covered with densely matted hairs.
Tomentum Fine, densely matted hair, like wool
Tubercles   Small knoblike projections.
Tuberous   Thickened, usually referring to roots.
Turgid   Not flat; swollen or distended.
Variegated   Having discrete markings of different colors.
Venation   The system of veins.