The Stem, Leaf, And Their Parts

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Acuminate (ak-KEW-min-ayt) -- Describes a very sharp apex with long, straight or slightly concave sides.

Acute (ak-KEWT) -- A very sharp point, but not long and tapered.

Adherent (ad-HERE-ent) -- Two dissimilar parts touching each other but not fused.

Adnate (AD-nayt) -- The attachment of two plant parts either partially or completely fused.

Alternate (AWL-ter-nayt) -- Said of plant parts placed individually at different heights on a stem or flower spike.

Anastomosing (a-NASS-toh-moh-zing) -- Interlacing or running together as the network of veins on a leaf.

Apiculate (a-PIK-yew-layt) -- Ending in a sharp point.

Attenuate (at-TEN-yew-ayt) -- Gradually narrowing to a point.

Awl-shaped (AWL-shaypt) -- With a stiff point usually tapering gently from the base to the apex.

Blade (BLAYD) -- The flattened, expanded portion of the leaf.

Bract (BRAKT) -- The leaflike structure that subtends a flower, leaf or stem.

Bracteiform (BRAK-tee-form) -- In the form of a bract.

Bracteole (BRAK-tee-ohl) -- Said of a very small bract, often called a bractlet.

Clavate (KLAV-ayt) -- Club-shaped with the thickening increasing towards the apex.

Compressed (kom-PRESSED) -- Flattened, usually laterally.

Conduplicate (kon-DOO-pli-kayt) -- Said of leaves, or other plant parts that are folded together lengthwise.

Conical (KON-ik-al) -- Cone-shaped.

Constricted (kon-STRYK-ted) -- Being compressed or drawn together at some point.

Convolute (KON-vo-loot) -- Rolled up.

Cordate (KOR-dayt) -- Something heartshaped, as leaves.

Coriaceous (kor-ee-AY-shus) -- Describes leaves that have a thick, leathery texture.

Cylindrical (sil-LIN-drick-al) -- Round and equal from top to bottom.

Dentate (DEN-tayt) -- Applies to the tooth-like margins found on leaves and petals, usually sharp and coarse.

Denticulate (den-TIK-yew-layt) -- Minutely dentate.

Downy (DOW-nee) -- Having a dense cover of very soft hairs.

Elliptic (el-LIP-tik) -- Refers to leaves somewhat oval in shape and equally rounded at the base and apex.

Elongate (ee-LONG-gayt) -- A very long or drawn-out leaf or pseudobulb.

Emarginate (ee-MAR-jin-ayt) -- A leaf with a shallow notch at it's tip.

Ensiform (EN-sih-form) -- Leaves that are shaped like a sword.

Entire (en-TIRE) -- Said of leaves and floral segments whose margins are not broken or toothed or serrated.

Epidermis (ep-ih-DER-mis) -- The layer of cells that forms the covering of all plant parts.

Equitant (EK-kwi-tant) -- Said of leaves that overlap and form two ranks as in Oncidium pusillum.

Erose (ee-ROHS) -- A leaf tip that appears to have a torn margin or looks like an insect had chewed on it, e.g., Vanda tricolor.

Falcate (FAL-kayt) -- Shaped like a sickle.

Furrowed (FER-rohd) -- Having long grooves.

Fusiform (FEW-sih-form) -- Shaped like a spindle.

Glabrous (GLAY-brus) -- Without hairs, often misdescribed as smooth.

Glaucous (GLAW-kus) -- Having a whitish or grayish bloom on the foliage as in Brassavola glauca.

Globose (GLO-bohse) -- Almost round.

Grooved (GROO-ved) -- Having furrows or ridges.

Hair (HAIR) -- A collective term to describe all of the various outgrowths on plant parts, such as pubescent, hirsute, ect. (See also, Hirsute).

Hirsute (HER-soot) -- Said of plants having coarse, usually long hairs.

Imbricate (IM-bree-kayt) -- When leaves and other plant segments overlap in a shingle-like arrangement, e.g., Lockhartia.

Jointed (JOYN-ted) -- Having very distinct nodes.

Keel (KEEL) -- The main dorsal vein (midrib) found on many leaves.

Lanceolate (LAN-see-oh-layt) -- In the form of a lance. Being longer than broad and tapering towards the apex.

Ligulate (LIG-yew-layt) -- Strap-shaped, as leaves.

Linear (LIN-ee-ayr) -- Said of leaves whose sides are parallel and are long and narrow, grasslike.

Lingulate (LING-yew-layt) -- Tongue-shaped.

Lobed (LOHBD) -- Having parts with lobes.

Lorate (LOR-ayt) -- Strap-shaped, as leaves.

Midrib (MID-rib) -- The main vein of a leaf.

Mucronate (MEW-kro-nayt) -- Having a small, short, sharp tip at the apex of a leaf.

Nerve (NERV) -- The small vein of a leaf.

Netted (NET-ted) -- Said of veins when they form a connected network.

Obcordate (ahb-KOR-dayt) -- With the heart-shaped lobes at the apex of the leaf.

Oblanceolate (ahb-LAN-see-oh-layt) -- Lance-shaped in reverse, i.e., widest at the apex.

Oblong (AHB-long) -- With parts that are longer than they are wide.

Obovate (ahb-OH-vayt) -- Ovate but narrowest at the base.

Obtuse (ahb-TOOS) -- Rounded at the tip.

Orbicular (or-BIK-yew-lar) -- Round in shape.

Oval (OH-val) -- Having parts like a thickened ellipse.

Ovate (OH-vayt) -- Egg-shaped in outline.

Ovoid (OH-void) -- Egg-shaped as a solid form.

Petiole (PET-ee-ohl) -- The stalk of a leaf.

Pleated (PLEET-ed) -- Folded as a fan, said of leaves as in Calanthe.

Plicate (PLYE-kayt) -- Said of leaves when folded.

Pubescens (pew-BESS-enz) -- Covered with short, soft hairs.

Pyriform (PYE-rih-form) -- Said of pseudobulbs that are shaped like pears.

Ranks (RANKS) -- Refers to the arrangement of flowers or leaves in vertical rows, having two ranks means two vertical rows of leaves.

Retuse (ree-TOOS) -- Rounded at the end with a shallow notch in the center.

Revolute (REV-oh-lewt) -- The leaf having its margins rolled back.

Ridged (RID-jd) -- Said of plant parts having raised lines, as pseudobulbs in Gongora.

Semiterete (sem-ee-ter-REET) -- The leaves of hybrids formed by crossing straped-leaved plants with terete-leaved plants as in Vanda.

Sessile (SESS-il) -- Stalkless, the leaf blade being attached directly to the stem, such as Cattleya.

Smooth (SMOOTH) -- A surface free of all blemishes; not hairy, not rough, and not scabrous.

Spiral (SPY-ral) -- When leaves are arranged on the stem so as to form a spiral.

Stemlike (STEHM-like) -- Appearing like a stem.

Strap leaf (STRAP-leef) -- Said of leaved that are long and narrow as in Vanda.

Sub (SUB) -- Meaning almost, as subcordate, almost heart-shaped.

Sulcate (SULL-kayt) -- See furrowed.

Swollen (SWOL-len) -- Said of plant parts that are larger than other similar parts.

Terete (teh-REET) -- Said of leaves that are round in cross section, as in Vanda teres.

Tesselate (TESS-sel-ayt) -- Said of plant parts that are checkered or evenly netted as Vanda Sanderana flowers.

Tetragonal (teh-TRAG-oh-nal) -- Four sided.

Truncate (TRUN-kayt) -- When the leaf appears to have been cut off at the apex and the apex appears flat.

Tuber (TEW-ber) -- A thickened stem, usually underground.

Tubercle (TEW-ber-kul) -- Said of small tubers, but may not be underground, as small tubers on leaves or petals.

Undulate (UN-dew-layt) -- With an up-and-down wavy margin on a leaf or petal, not waving in and out.

Unguiculate (un-GWIK-yew-layt) -- Drawn out at the base, often drawn into a thin stalk or even being clawlike.

Vein (VAYN) -- The vascular tissue in the leaf that transports water, nutrients, and carbohydrates throughout the leaf and the plant.

 

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