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Botanical Glossary


The technical terms of botany are often difficult and obscure, but they represent an indispensable, precise shorthand when describing the physical attributes of plants. Without them, many more words would be needed to ensure a complete and accurate description. The following glossary defines the technical terms used widely in everyday botany, and you may even come across a few in some reference books.



Raceme - An elongated flower cluster in which flowers grow on pedicels along part of the length of the peduncle.

Radical - Growing from or pertaining to a root; growing from a non-aerial stem.

Ray Flower - One of the flattened, petal-like outer flowers or florets ringing the disk in the heads of some composite flowers, such as the daisy. (see also disk flower).

Receptacle - The end of the stem or stalk on which the flower parts are borne.

Rhizome - An underground portion of a stem, producing shoots on top and roots beneath; different from a root in that it has buds, nodes, and scaly leaves; rootstock.

Rootstock - Rhizome.

Rosette - A circular or spiral arrangement of leaves growing from a centre or crown.

Runner - A thin stem or shoot growing along the ground and producing roots at the nodes.