Glossary of botanical terms
This glossary of botanical terms is a list of terms relevant to botany and plants in general. Terms of plant morphology are included here as well as at the related Glossary of plant morphology and Glossary of leaf morphology. See List of Latin and Greek words used in systematic names. You can help by adding illustrations. Ab- A prefix meaning "from, away from, or outside". Abaxial The surface of an organ facing away from the organ's axis, e.g. the lower surface of a lateral organ such as a leaf or petal. Abort To abandon development of a structure or organ. Abscission The shedding of an organ, mature or aged, e.g. a ripe fruit or an old leaf. Abscission zone A specialised layer of tissue that allows an organ to be shed by abscission when it is ripe or senescent. Formed, for example, at the base of a petiole or pedicel. Acaulescent Having no apparent stem, or at least none visible above the ground surface. Examples include some species of Agave and Attalea. Accrescent Increasing in size with age, such as a calyx that continues to grow after the corolla has fallen, for example in Physalis peruviana.
-aceae A suffix added to the stem of a generic name to form the name of a taxonomic family. Achene A dry, 1-seeded indehiscent fruit, e.g. in the genus Ranunculus. Acicular Slender or needle-shaped. Acropetal Moving from roots to leaves, e.g. of molecular signals in plants. Acrophyll The regular leaves of a mature plant, produced above the base. Acrostichoid Covering the entire abaxial surface of a frond densely so, as in Elaphoglossum and Acrostichum. Actino- A prefix that indicates a radial pattern, form, or morphology. Actinodromous Palmate or radially arranged venation with three or more primary veins arising at or near the base of the leaf and either reaching the margin or not. Actinomorphic Regular. Applies e.g. to steles and flowers in which the perianth segments within each whorl are alike in size and shape. Compare regular. Aculeate Armed with prickles, e.g. the stem of a rose. Acuminate Tapering to a point. Acute Sharply pointed. Compare obtuse. Ad- A prefix meaning "near or towards". Adaxial The surface of an organ facing towards the organ's axis, e.g. the upper surface of a lateral organ such as a leaf or petal.
Adnate Grown or fused to an organ of a different kind along a margin, e.g. a stamen fused to a petal. Compare connate. Adventitious A structure produced in an abnormal position, e.g. an adventitious bud produced from a stem rather than from the axil of a leaf. Adventive Introduced accidentally. Aerial Of the air. Aestivation The arrangement of sepals and petals or their lobes in an unexpanded flower bud. Compare vernation, the arrangement of leaves in a bud. aff. With affinity to others, akin to. Aggregate fruit A cluster of fruits formed from the free carpels of one flower, e.g. a blackberry. Compare multiple fruit. Agricultural weed See weed. alate Having a wing or wings. Albumen An older name for the endosperm of flowering plants. Except for being a storage tissue for nutrients, it is not at all like the albumen of animal embryos. Albuminous Containing endosperm. -ales A suffix added to the stem of a generic name or descriptive name to form the name of a taxonomic order. Alien A plant introduced to an area outside its natural range.
Synonymous to or used in combination with foreign, non-native, non-indigenous. Alkaloid A molecule with a nitrogenous base used as a drug, e.g. morphine and strychnine, each of which occurs in certain plants. Alternate 1. Leaves or flowers borne singly including spiralled parts. 2. When something occurs between something else, e.g. stamens alternating with petals. Compare opposite. Ament A synonym of catkin. Amphitropous When the ovule is bent so that both ends are near each other. Compare anatropous and orthotropous. Amplexicaul With the base dilated and clasping the stem of leaves. Anastomose Branching and rejoining, as with leaf venation. Anastomosis A connection or fusion of two or more veins that are diverging or branching, thereby forming a network. Anatropous When an ovule is inverted so that the micropyle faces the placenta. Compare amphitropous, orthotropous. Androdioecious Of plants, having male flowers on separate individuals. Compare andromonoecious, polygamodioecious, polygamomonoecious, polygamous.
Androecium Male parts of flower. Compare gynoecium. Abbreviation: A. For instance A 3+3 indicates 6 stamens in two whorls. Androgynophore A stalk bearing both the androecium and gynoecium of a flower above the level of insertion of the perianth. Androgynous With male and female flowers in the same inflorescence. Androphore The stalk or column supporting the stamens in certain flowers. Andromonoecious Having bisexual flowers and male flowers on the same individual plant. Compare gynomonoecious, polygamodioecious, polygamomonoecious, polygamous. Anemophily Pollination by wind. Angiosperm A flowering plant. Anisomery The condition of hav
Botany called plant science, plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist; the term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek word βοτάνη meaning "pasture", "grass", or "fodder". Traditionally, botany has included the study of fungi and algae by mycologists and phycologists with the study of these three groups of organisms remaining within the sphere of interest of the International Botanical Congress. Nowadays, botanists study 410,000 species of land plants of which some 391,000 species are vascular plants, 20,000 are bryophytes. Botany originated in prehistory as herbalism with the efforts of early humans to identify – and cultivate – edible and poisonous plants, making it one of the oldest branches of science. Medieval physic gardens attached to monasteries, contained plants of medical importance, they were forerunners of the first botanical gardens attached to universities, founded from the 1540s onwards.
One of the earliest was the Padua botanical garden. These gardens facilitated the academic study of plants. Efforts to catalogue and describe their collections were the beginnings of plant taxonomy, led in 1753 to the binomial system of Carl Linnaeus that remains in use to this day. In the 19th and 20th centuries, new techniques were developed for the study of plants, including methods of optical microscopy and live cell imaging, electron microscopy, analysis of chromosome number, plant chemistry and the structure and function of enzymes and other proteins. In the last two decades of the 20th century, botanists exploited the techniques of molecular genetic analysis, including genomics and proteomics and DNA sequences to classify plants more accurately. Modern botany is a broad, multidisciplinary subject with inputs from most other areas of science and technology. Research topics include the study of plant structure and differentiation, reproduction and primary metabolism, chemical products, diseases, evolutionary relationships and plant taxonomy.
Dominant themes in 21st century plant science are molecular genetics and epigenetics, which are the mechanisms and control of gene expression during differentiation of plant cells and tissues. Botanical research has diverse applications in providing staple foods, materials such as timber, rubber and drugs, in modern horticulture and forestry, plant propagation and genetic modification, in the synthesis of chemicals and raw materials for construction and energy production, in environmental management, the maintenance of biodiversity. Botany originated as the study and use of plants for their medicinal properties. Many records of the Holocene period date early botanical knowledge as far back as 10,000 years ago; this early unrecorded knowledge of plants was discovered in ancient sites of human occupation within Tennessee, which make up much of the Cherokee land today. The early recorded history of botany includes many ancient writings and plant classifications. Examples of early botanical works have been found in ancient texts from India dating back to before 1100 BC, in archaic Avestan writings, in works from China before it was unified in 221 BC.
Modern botany traces its roots back to Ancient Greece to Theophrastus, a student of Aristotle who invented and described many of its principles and is regarded in the scientific community as the "Father of Botany". His major works, Enquiry into Plants and On the Causes of Plants, constitute the most important contributions to botanical science until the Middle Ages seventeen centuries later. Another work from Ancient Greece that made an early impact on botany is De Materia Medica, a five-volume encyclopedia about herbal medicine written in the middle of the first century by Greek physician and pharmacologist Pedanius Dioscorides. De Materia Medica was read for more than 1,500 years. Important contributions from the medieval Muslim world include Ibn Wahshiyya's Nabatean Agriculture, Abū Ḥanīfa Dīnawarī's the Book of Plants, Ibn Bassal's The Classification of Soils. In the early 13th century, Abu al-Abbas al-Nabati, Ibn al-Baitar wrote on botany in a systematic and scientific manner. In the mid-16th century, "botanical gardens" were founded in a number of Italian universities – the Padua botanical garden in 1545 is considered to be the first, still in its original location.
These gardens continued the practical value of earlier "physic gardens" associated with monasteries, in which plants were cultivated for medical use. They supported the growth of botany as an academic subject. Lectures were given about the plants grown in the gardens and their medical uses demonstrated. Botanical gardens came much to northern Europe. Throughout this period, botany remained subordinate to medicine. German physician Leonhart Fuchs was one of "the three German fathers of botany", along with theologian Otto Brunfels and physician Hieronymus Bock. Fuchs and Brunfels broke away from the tradition of copying earlier works to make original observations of their own. Bock created his own system of plant classification. Physician Valerius Cordus authored a botanically and pharmacologically important herbal Historia Plantarum in 1544 and a pharmacopoeia of lasting importance, the Dispensatorium
History of botany
The history of botany examines the human effort to understand life on Earth by tracing the historical development of the discipline of botany—that part of natural science dealing with organisms traditionally treated as plants. Rudimentary botanical science began with empirically-based plant lore passed from generation to generation in the oral traditions of paleolithic hunter-gatherers; the first written records of plants were made in the Neolithic Revolution about 10,000 years ago as writing was developed in the settled agricultural communities where plants and animals were first domesticated. The first writings that show human curiosity about plants themselves, rather than the uses that could be made of them, appears in the teachings of Aristotle's student Theophrastus at the Lyceum in ancient Athens in about 350 BC. In Europe, this early botanical science was soon overshadowed by a medieval preoccupation with the medicinal properties of plants that lasted more than 1000 years. During this time, the medicinal works of classical antiquity were reproduced in manuscripts and books called herbals.
In China and the Arab world, the Greco-Roman work on medicinal plants was extended. In Europe the Renaissance of the 14th–17th centuries heralded a scientific revival during which botany emerged from natural history as an independent science, distinct from medicine and agriculture. Herbals were replaced by floras: books; the invention of the microscope stimulated the study of plant anatomy, the first designed experiments in plant physiology were performed. With the expansion of trade and exploration beyond Europe, the many new plants being discovered were subjected to an rigorous process of naming and classification. Progressively more sophisticated scientific technology has aided the development of contemporary botanical offshoots in the plant sciences, ranging from the applied fields of economic botany, to the detailed examination of the structure and function of plants and their interaction with the environment over many scales from the large-scale global significance of vegetation and plant communities through to the small scale of subjects like cell theory, molecular biology and plant biochemistry.
Botany and zoology are the core disciplines of biology whose history is associated with the natural sciences chemistry and geology. A distinction can be made between botanical science in a pure sense, as the study of plants themselves, botany as applied science, which studies the human use of plants. Early natural history divided pure botany into three main streams morphology-classification and physiology – that is, external form, internal structure, functional operation; the most obvious topics in applied botany are horticulture and agriculture although there are many others like weed science, plant pathology, pharmacognosy, economic botany and ethnobotany which lie outside modern courses in botany. Since the origin of botanical science there has been a progressive increase in the scope of the subject as technology has opened up new techniques and areas of study. Modern molecular systematics, for example, entails the principles and techniques of taxonomy, molecular biology, computer science and more.
Within botany there are a number of sub-disciplines that focus on particular plant groups, each with their own range of related studies. Included here are: phycology, pteridology and palaeobotany and their histories are treated elsewhere. To this list can be added mycology, the study of fungi, which were once treated as plants, but are now ranked as a unique kingdom. Nomadic hunter-gatherer societies passed on, by oral tradition, what they knew about the different kinds of plants that they used for food, poisons, for ceremonies and rituals etc; the uses of plants by these pre-literate societies influenced the way the plants were named and classified—their uses were embedded in folk-taxonomies, the way they were grouped according to use in everyday communication. The nomadic life-style was drastically changed when settled communities were established in about twelve centres around the world during the Neolithic Revolution which extended from about 10,000 to 2500 years ago depending on the region.
With these communities came the development of the technology and skills needed for the domestication of plants and animals and the emergence of the written word provided evidence for the passing of systematic knowledge and culture from one generation to the next. During the Neolithic Revolution plant knowledge increased most through the use of plants for food and medicine. All of today's staple foods were domesticated in prehistoric times as a gradual process of selection of higher-yielding varieties took place unknowingly, over hundreds to thousands of years. Legumes were cultivated on all continents but cereals made up most of the regular diet: rice in East Asia and barley in the Middle east, maize in Central and South America. By Greco-Roman times popular food plants of today, including grapes, apples and olives, were being listed as named varieties in early manuscripts. Botanical authority William Stearn has observed that "cultivated plants are mankind's most vital and precious heritage from remote antiquity".
It is from the Neolithic, in about 3000 BC, that we glimpse the first known illustrations of plants and read descript
The flowering plants known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 64 orders, 416 families 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant; the term comes from the Greek words sperma. The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms in the Triassic Period, 245 to 202 million years ago, the first flowering plants are known from 160 mya, they diversified extensively during the Early Cretaceous, became widespread by 120 mya, replaced conifers as the dominant trees from 100 to 60 mya. Angiosperms differ from other seed plants in several ways, described in the table below; these distinguishing characteristics taken together have made the angiosperms the most diverse and numerous land plants and the most commercially important group to humans.
Angiosperm stems are made up of seven layers. The amount and complexity of tissue-formation in flowering plants exceeds that of gymnosperms; the vascular bundles of the stem are arranged such that the phloem form concentric rings. In the dicotyledons, the bundles in the young stem are arranged in an open ring, separating a central pith from an outer cortex. In each bundle, separating the xylem and phloem, is a layer of meristem or active formative tissue known as cambium. By the formation of a layer of cambium between the bundles, a complete ring is formed, a regular periodical increase in thickness results from the development of xylem on the inside and phloem on the outside; the soft phloem becomes crushed, but the hard wood persists and forms the bulk of the stem and branches of the woody perennial. Owing to differences in the character of the elements produced at the beginning and end of the season, the wood is marked out in transverse section into concentric rings, one for each season of growth, called annual rings.
Among the monocotyledons, the bundles are more numerous in the young stem and are scattered through the ground tissue. They once formed the stem increases in diameter only in exceptional cases; the characteristic feature of angiosperms is the flower. Flowers show remarkable variation in form and elaboration, provide the most trustworthy external characteristics for establishing relationships among angiosperm species; the function of the flower is to ensure fertilization of the ovule and development of fruit containing seeds. The floral apparatus may arise terminally from the axil of a leaf; as in violets, a flower arises singly in the axil of an ordinary foliage-leaf. More the flower-bearing portion of the plant is distinguished from the foliage-bearing or vegetative portion, forms a more or less elaborate branch-system called an inflorescence. There are two kinds of reproductive cells produced by flowers. Microspores, which will divide to become pollen grains, are the "male" cells and are borne in the stamens.
The "female" cells called megaspores, which will divide to become the egg cell, are contained in the ovule and enclosed in the carpel. The flower may consist only of these parts, as in willow, where each flower comprises only a few stamens or two carpels. Other structures are present and serve to protect the sporophylls and to form an envelope attractive to pollinators; the individual members of these surrounding structures are known as petals. The outer series is green and leaf-like, functions to protect the rest of the flower the bud; the inner series is, in general, white or brightly colored, is more delicate in structure. It functions to attract bird pollinators. Attraction is effected by color and nectar, which may be secreted in some part of the flower; the characteristics that attract pollinators account for the popularity of flowers and flowering plants among humans. While the majority of flowers are perfect or hermaphrodite, flowering plants have developed numerous morphological and physiological mechanisms to reduce or prevent self-fertilization.
Heteromorphic flowers have short carpels and long stamens, or vice versa, so animal pollinators cannot transfer pollen to the pistil. Homomorphic flowers may employ a biochemical mechanism called self-incompatibility to discriminate between self and non-self pollen grains. In other species, the male and female parts are morphologically separated, developing on different flowers; the botanical term "Angiosperm", from the Ancient Greek αγγείον, angeíon and σπέρμα, was coined in the form Angiospermae by Paul Hermann in 1690, as the name of one of his primary divisions of the plant kingdom. This included flowering plants possessing seeds enclosed in capsules, distinguished from his Gymnospermae, or flowering plants with achenial or schizo-carpic fruits, the whole fruit or each of its pieces being here regarded as a seed and naked; the term and its antonym were maintained by Carl Linnaeus with the same sense, but with restricted application, in the names of the orders of his class Didynamia. Its use with any
The Devonian is a geologic period and system of the Paleozoic, spanning 60 million years from the end of the Silurian, 419.2 million years ago, to the beginning of the Carboniferous, 358.9 Mya. It is named after Devon, where rocks from this period were first studied; the first significant adaptive radiation of life on dry land occurred during the Devonian. Free-sporing vascular plants began to spread across dry land, forming extensive forests which covered the continents. By the middle of the Devonian, several groups of plants had evolved leaves and true roots, by the end of the period the first seed-bearing plants appeared. Various terrestrial arthropods became well-established. Fish reached substantial diversity during this time, leading the Devonian to be dubbed the "Age of Fishes." The first ray-finned and lobe-finned bony fish appeared, while the placoderms began dominating every known aquatic environment. The ancestors of all four-limbed vertebrates began adapting to walking on land, as their strong pectoral and pelvic fins evolved into legs.
In the oceans, primitive sharks became more numerous than in the Late Ordovician. The first ammonites, species of molluscs, appeared. Trilobites, the mollusc-like brachiopods and the great coral reefs, were still common; the Late Devonian extinction which started about 375 million years ago affected marine life, killing off all placodermi, all trilobites, save for a few species of the order Proetida. The palaeogeography was dominated by the supercontinent of Gondwana to the south, the continent of Siberia to the north, the early formation of the small continent of Euramerica in between; the period is named after Devon, a county in southwestern England, where a controversial argument in the 1830s over the age and structure of the rocks found distributed throughout the county was resolved by the definition of the Devonian period in the geological timescale. The Great Devonian Controversy was a long period of vigorous argument and counter-argument between the main protagonists of Roderick Murchison with Adam Sedgwick against Henry De la Beche supported by George Bellas Greenough.
Murchison and Sedgwick named the period they proposed as the Devonian System. While the rock beds that define the start and end of the Devonian period are well identified, the exact dates are uncertain. According to the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the Devonian extends from the end of the Silurian 419.2 Mya, to the beginning of the Carboniferous 358.9 Mya. In nineteenth-century texts the Devonian has been called the "Old Red Age", after the red and brown terrestrial deposits known in the United Kingdom as the Old Red Sandstone in which early fossil discoveries were found. Another common term is "Age of the Fishes", referring to the evolution of several major groups of fish that took place during the period. Older literature on the Anglo-Welsh basin divides it into the Downtonian, Dittonian and Farlovian stages, the latter three of which are placed in the Devonian; the Devonian has erroneously been characterised as a "greenhouse age", due to sampling bias: most of the early Devonian-age discoveries came from the strata of western Europe and eastern North America, which at the time straddled the Equator as part of the supercontinent of Euramerica where fossil signatures of widespread reefs indicate tropical climates that were warm and moderately humid but in fact the climate in the Devonian differed during its epochs and between geographic regions.
For example, during the Early Devonian, arid conditions were prevalent through much of the world including Siberia, North America, China, but Africa and South America had a warm temperate climate. In the Late Devonian, by contrast, arid conditions were less prevalent across the world and temperate climates were more common; the Devonian Period is formally broken into Early and Late subdivisions. The rocks corresponding to those epochs are referred to as belonging to the Lower and Upper parts of the Devonian System. Early DevonianThe Early Devonian lasted from 419.2 ± 2.8 to 393.3 ± 2.5 and began with the Lochkovian stage, which lasted until the Pragian. It spanned from 410.8 ± 2.8 to 407.6 ± 2.5, was followed by the Emsian, which lasted until the Middle Devonian began, 393.3± 2.7 million years ago. During this time, the first ammonoids appeared. Ammonoids during this time period differed little from their nautiloid counterparts; these ammonoids belong to the order Agoniatitida, which in epochs evolved to new ammonoid orders, for example Goniatitida and Clymeniida.
This class of cephalopod molluscs would dominate the marine fauna until the beginning of the Mesozoic era. Middle DevonianThe Middle Devonian comprised two subdivisions: first the Eifelian, which gave way to the Givetian 387.7± 2.7 million years ago. During this time the jawless agnathan fishes began to decline in diversity in freshwater and marine environments due to drastic environmental changes and due to the increasing competition and diversity of jawed fishes; the shallow, oxygen-depleted waters of Devonian inland lakes, surrounded by primitive plants, provided the environment necessary for certain early fish to develop such essential characteristics as well developed lungs, the ability to crawl out of the water and onto the land for short periods of time. Late DevonianFinally, the Late Devonian started with the Frasnian, 382.7 ± 2.8 to 372.2 ± 2.5, during which the first forests took shape on land. The first tetrapods appeared in the fossil record in the ensuing Famennian subdivisi
International Standard Book Number
The International Standard Book Number is a numeric commercial book identifier, intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency. An ISBN is assigned to each variation of a book. For example, an e-book, a paperback and a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN; the ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. The method of assigning an ISBN is nation-based and varies from country to country depending on how large the publishing industry is within a country; the initial ISBN identification format was devised in 1967, based upon the 9-digit Standard Book Numbering created in 1966. The 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. Published books sometimes appear without an ISBN; the International ISBN agency sometimes assigns such books ISBNs on its own initiative.
Another identifier, the International Standard Serial Number, identifies periodical publications such as magazines and newspapers. The International Standard Music Number covers musical scores; the Standard Book Numbering code is a 9-digit commercial book identifier system created by Gordon Foster, Emeritus Professor of Statistics at Trinity College, for the booksellers and stationers WHSmith and others in 1965. The ISBN identification format was conceived in 1967 in the United Kingdom by David Whitaker and in 1968 in the United States by Emery Koltay; the 10-digit ISBN format was developed by the International Organization for Standardization and was published in 1970 as international standard ISO 2108. The United Kingdom continued to use the 9-digit SBN code until 1974. ISO has appointed the International ISBN Agency as the registration authority for ISBN worldwide and the ISBN Standard is developed under the control of ISO Technical Committee 46/Subcommittee 9 TC 46/SC 9; the ISO on-line facility only refers back to 1978.
An SBN may be converted to an ISBN by prefixing the digit "0". For example, the second edition of Mr. J. G. Reeder Returns, published by Hodder in 1965, has "SBN 340 01381 8" – 340 indicating the publisher, 01381 their serial number, 8 being the check digit; this can be converted to ISBN 0-340-01381-8. Since 1 January 2007, ISBNs have contained 13 digits, a format, compatible with "Bookland" European Article Number EAN-13s. An ISBN is assigned to each variation of a book. For example, an ebook, a paperback, a hardcover edition of the same book would each have a different ISBN; the ISBN is 13 digits long if assigned on or after 1 January 2007, 10 digits long if assigned before 2007. An International Standard Book Number consists of 4 parts or 5 parts: for a 13-digit ISBN, a prefix element – a GS1 prefix: so far 978 or 979 have been made available by GS1, the registration group element, the registrant element, the publication element, a checksum character or check digit. A 13-digit ISBN can be separated into its parts, when this is done it is customary to separate the parts with hyphens or spaces.
Separating the parts of a 10-digit ISBN is done with either hyphens or spaces. Figuring out how to separate a given ISBN is complicated, because most of the parts do not use a fixed number of digits. ISBN is most used among others special identifiers to describe references in Wikipedia and can help to find the same sources with different description in various language versions. ISBN issuance is country-specific, in that ISBNs are issued by the ISBN registration agency, responsible for that country or territory regardless of the publication language; the ranges of ISBNs assigned to any particular country are based on the publishing profile of the country concerned, so the ranges will vary depending on the number of books and the number and size of publishers that are active. Some ISBN registration agencies are based in national libraries or within ministries of culture and thus may receive direct funding from government to support their services. In other cases, the ISBN registration service is provided by organisations such as bibliographic data providers that are not government funded.
A full directory of ISBN agencies is available on the International ISBN Agency website. Partial listing: Australia: the commercial library services agency Thorpe-Bowker.