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 B & T World Seeds

Common Name:
Botanical name:

Glossary S - Z

sac: a pouch or cavity; pollen-sac.
saccate: pouched.
sagittate: shaped like an arrow-head.
samara: a dry, indehiscent fruit with its wall expanded into a wing.
saprophyte: an organism deriving its nourishment from dead organic matter and usually lacking chlorophyll. cf. epiphyte, parasite.
scabrid (= scabrous): rough to the touch.
scabridulous: slightly rough; diminutive of scabrous.
scalariform: having a ladder-like pattern.
scale: a reduced or rudimentary leaf, e.g. surrounding a dormant bud; a thin flap of tissue, e.g. on the ventral surface of a liverwort thallus and at the base of a stamen in simaroubaceae.
scandent: climbing.
scape: the stem-like, flowering stalk of a plant with radical leaves.
scarious: dry and membranous.
schizocarp: a dry fruit formed from more than one carpel but breaking apart into 1 -carpel units when ripe. cf. mericarp.
sclerenchyma: mechanical tissue with heavily thickened cell walls.
scleromorph: a plant whose leaves (or stems, if leafless) are hard in texture, usually having thick cuticle and containing many fibres. cf. xeromorph.
sclerophyllous: with leaves stiffened by sclerenchyma.
scorpioid: of a cymose inflorescence, branching alternately on one side and then the other. cf. helicoid.
scribble: irregular lines on the bark of some eucalypts, being the old tunnels burrowed by moth larvae between bark layers and exposed when the outer layer falls.
secund: with all the parts grouped on one side or turned to one side (applied especially to inflorescences).
seed: a propagating organ formed in the sexual reproductive cycle of gymnosperms and angiosperm, consisting of a protective coat (testa) enclosing an embryo and food reserves.
segment: a part or sub-division of a divided organ; one of a group of similar organs named collectively, e.g. one petal = a segment of a corolla.
sepal: a member of the (usually green) outer whorl of non-fertile parts surrounding the fertile organs of a flower.
sepaloid: looking like sepals, e.g. of bracts, usually green and arranged in a ring beneath a flower.
septate: divided internally by partitions.
septicidal: of the dehiscence of a fruit, along lines coinciding with the partitions between loculi. cf. loculicidal.
septifragal: of the dehiscence of a fruit, when the valves or backs of the carpels break away leaving the septa intact.
septum: a partition. pl. septa.
seriate: in rows or whorls.
sericeous: silky; covered with silky hairs.
serrate: toothed, with asymmetrical teeth pointing forward.
serrulate: finely serrate.
sessile: without a stalk (when applied to a stigma, indicates that the style is absent, the stigma being 'sessile' on the ovary).
seta: a bristle or stiff hair; in bryophyta, the stalk portion of a sporophyte plant body; terminal seta.
setose: bristly.
shrub: a woody plant less than 5 metres high, either without a distinct main axis, or with branches persisting on the main axis almost to its base.
siliceous: containing silica.
silicula: a short siliqua, not more than twice as long as its width.
siliqua: a dry, dehiscent fruit formed from a superior ovary of two carpels, with two parietal placentas and divided into two loculi by a false septum between the placentas.
simple: undivided; of a leaf, not divided into leaflets; of a hair or an inflorescence, not branched.
sinuate: with deep, wave-like depressions along the margin. cf. undulate.
sinus: a notch or depression in the margin of an organ.
solitary: of flowers, borne singly, not grouped in an inflorescence.
sorus: in ferns, a discrete group of sporangia. pl. sori.
spadix: a spicate inflorescence with a stout, often succulent axis.
spathaceous: like a spathe; with a spathe.
spathe: a large bract ensheathing an inflorescence.
spathella: a closed membranous sac which envelopes the immature flower in some podostemaceae, rupturing irregularly as the pedicel elongates at anthesis.
spathulate (= spatulate): spoon-shaped; broad at the tip and narrowed towards the base.
species: a taxon comprising individuals, or populations of individuals, capable of interbreeding to produce fertile offspring;
species: the largest group of individuals between which there are no distinguishable, consistent differences in form or reproductive mechanisms.
spike: an unbranched, indeterminate inflorescence in which the flowers are without stalks. adj. spicate.
spikelet: a unit of the inflorescence in grasses, sedges and some other monocotyledons, consisting of one to many flowers and associated glumes.
spine: a stiff, sharp-pointed structure, formed by modification of a plant organ, e.g. a lateral branch or a stipule.
spinescent: ending in a spine; modified to form a spine.
spinose: bearing spines.
spiral: of leaves or floral organs, borne at different levels on the axis, in an ascending spiral. cf. cyclic.
sporangiophore: the stalk of a sporangium.
sporangium: a structure within which spores are formed. pl. sporangia.
spore: a simple propagule, produced either sexually or asexually, and consisting of one or a few cells.
sporocarp: a fruiting body containing sporangia.
sporogenous: of cells or tissues, in which spores are formed.
sporophyll: a specialised leaf-like organ on which one or more sporangia are borne.
sporophyte: a plant, or phase of a life cycle, that bears the spores formed during the sexual reproductive cycle.
spur: a tubular pouch at the base of a perianth part, often containing nectar.
stamen: one of the male organs of a flower, consisting typically of a stalk (filament) and a pollen-bearing portion (anther). adj. staminate.
staminode: a sterile stamen, often rudimentary.
staminophore: a band of tissue around the apex of the hypanthium in a eucalypt flower on which the stamens are inserted.
standard: the posterior petal in the flower in fabaceae.
stellate: star-shaped; consisting of star-shaped cells.
stem: the main axis or a branch of the main axial system of a plant, developed from the plumule of the embryo and typically bearing leaves.
stigma: the pollen-receptive surface of a carpel or group of fused carpels, usually sticky.
stipe: a small stalk; in ferns, the petiole of a frond; in algae, the cylindrical basal portion of a thallus.
stipitate: stalked; borne on a stipe; of an ovary, borne on a gynophore.
stipule: one of a pair of appendages at the bases of leaves in many dicotyledons.
stolon: a prostrate or trailing stem that produces roots at the nodes.
stoloniferous: having stolons; trailing over the soil surface and rooting at the nodes.
stoma: a pore; a pore in the epidermis of a leaf or other aerial organ, providing access for gaseous exchange between the tissues and the atmosphere. pl. stomata.
stomium: a region of dehiscence, e.g. of an anther in flowering plants or of a capsule in mosses. pl. stomia.
stramineous: straw coloured.
striate: striped with parallel longitudinal lines or ridges.
strigose: with sharp, stiff hairs which are slanting rather than erect.
strobilus: a 'cone' consisting of sporophylls borne close together on an axis.
strophiole: see caruncle
struma: a cushion-like swelling, e.g. at the apex of staminal filaments in dianella.
style: an elongated part of a carpel, or group of fused carpels, between the ovary and the stigma.
subulate: narrow and tapering gradually to a fine point.
sulcate: grooved; furrowed.
superior: of an ovary, borne above the level of attachment of the other floral parts, or above the base of a cup (hypanthium) that is free from the ovary and bears the perianth segments and stamens. cf. inferior.
suture: a line of junction between two fused organs; a line of dehiscence.
syconium: a multiple fruit with a hollow centre, e.g. in ficus (fig).
sympatric: of two or more species, having coincident or ovarlapping ranges of distribution. cf. allopatric.
sympetalous: = gamopetalous
sympodial: of growth, without a single, persistent growing point; changing direction by frequent replacement of the growing apex by a lateral growing point below it; of a stem, growing in the above manner. cf. monopodial.
synandrium: an androecium with the anthers of the stamens cohering. cf. syngenesious.
synangium: of fruit, several fruits united in a single structure.
syncarp: a structure consisting of several united fruits, usually fleshy. cf. aggregate fruit.
syncarpous: of a flower, having two or more carpels, all fused together.
syngenesious: of the stamens of one flower, fused together by the anthers e.g. in asteraceae. cf. synandrium.
syntepalum: in musaceae, a unilaterally split tube formed by the coherence of 3 sepals and 2 anterior petals in flowers of some species.
syntype: one of two or more specimens cited by the author at the time of publication of a name for which no holotype was designated.
taproot: the main, descending root of a plant that has a single, dominant root axis.
taxon: a group or category, at any level, in a system for classifying plants or animals.
tendril: a slender climbing organ formed by modification of a part of a plant, e.g. a stem, a leaf or leaflet, a stipule.
tenuiexenous: of a pollen grain, with a thin exine.
tepal: a perianth segment in a flower in which all the perianth segments are similar in appearance.
terete: cylindrical or nearly so; circular in cross-section.
terminal: at the apex or distal end.
ternate: in groups of three; of leaves, arranged in whorls of three; of a single leaf, having the leaflets arranged in groups of three.
terrestrial: of or on the ground; of the habitat of a plant, on land as opposed to in water, or on the ground as opposed to on another plant.
testa: a seed coat (testa).
tetrad: a group of four; four pollen grains remaining fused together at maturity, e.g. in ericaceae, epacridaceae.
tetradynamous: of an androecium, consisting of four stamens of the same length and two of a different length.
tetramerous: of a flower, having four segments in each perianth whorl, and usually in each whorl of stamens also.
thallus: the vegetative body of a plant that is not differentiated into organs such as stems and leaves, e.g. algae, the gametophytes of many liverworts, and lemnaceae.
thorn: a modified plant organ, especially a stem, that is stiffened and terminates in a pungent point.
throat: of a corolla tube, the top, where the tube joins the lobes.
thyrse: a branched inflorescence in which the main axis is indeterminate and the lateral branches determinate in their growth.
tomentum: a covering of dense, matted, woolly hairs. adj. tomentose.
torus: see receptacle.
trabecula: a transverse partition dividing or partly dividing a cavity.
tree: a woody plant at least 5 metres high, with a main axis the lower part of which is usually unbranched.
trichome: an unbranched epidermal outgrowth, e.g. a hair, a papilla; in blue-green algae, a single row of cells in a filamentous colony.
trichotomous: branching almost equally into three parts.
trifid: deeply divided into three parts.
trifoliate: having three leaves.
trifoliolate: of a leaf, having three leaflets.
trigonous: triangular in cross-section and obtusely-angled. cf. triquetrous.
trimerous: of a flower, having three segments in each perianth whorl and usually in each whorl of stamens also.
tripinnate: of leaves, thrice pinnately divided.
triplicate: folded three times.
triquetrous: triangular in cross-section and acutely-angled; with three distinct longitudinal ridges. cf. trigonous.
tristichous: arranged in three rows on a stem, each row in the same plane.
tristylous: heterostylous species having three style lengths (short, mid, long), the flowers of any one plant having styles of the same length.
truncate: with an abruptly transverse end, as if cut off.
tuber: a storage organ formed by swelling of an underground stem or the distal end of a root.
tubercle: a small wart-like outgrowth.
tuberculate: covered with tubercles.
tuberous: swollen; of roots, tuber-like.
tumid: swollen; inflated.
tunic: thin membranous or fibrous outer layers of a bulb or corm.
turbinate: top-shaped, obconical.
turgid: swollen due to high water content. cf. flaccid.
type: a designated representative of a plant name.
umbel: a racemose inflorescence in which all the individual flower stalks arise in a cluster at the top of the peduncle and are of about equal length.
uncinate: terminating in a hooked point.
undulate: wavy, i.e. not flat. cf. sinuate.
unifoliate: having one leaf.
unifoliolate: of a leaf, basically compound, but reduced to only one leaflet.
unilateral: of stamens, with anthers grouped to one side of the style.
unilocular: of an ovary, anther or fruit, having only one internal cavity.
unisexual: bearing only male or only female reproductive organs.
united: fused together.
urceolate: urn-shaped.
utricle: a small bladder; a membranous bladder-like sac enclosing an ovary or fruit.
valvate: of sepals or petals in a bud, meeting edge to edge, not overlapping. cf. imbricate.
valve: a portion of an organ that has fragmented; of a capsule, the teeth-like portions into which the dehiscing part of the pericarp splits at maturity.
vascular: specialised for conduction of fluids; vascular plants.
vein: a strand of vascular tissue.
velamen: a water-retaining outer layer of the aerial roots of some epiphytes, especially orchids.
velum: a membranous covering; a veil.
venation: the arrangement of veins in a leaf.
ventral: of a lateral organ, facing towards the subtending axis; of a thallus, facing towards the substratum. cf. dorsal.
vernation: the arrangement of unexpanded leaves in a bud. cf. aestivation.
verrucose: covered with wart-like outgrowths.
verrucose: warted.
verruculose: covered with closely spaced, minute wart-like outgrowths.
versatile: of anthers, swinging freely about the point of attachment to the filament, which is approximately central.
verticillate: arranged in one or more whorls.
vesicle: a bladder-like sac or cavity filled with gas or liquid.
vessel: a capillary tube formed from a series of open-ended cells in the water -conducting tissue of a plant.
vestigial: reduced from the ancestral condition and no longer functional. cf. obsolete, rudimentary.
villous: shaggy with long, weak hairs. cf. hirsute.
viscid: of a surface, sticky; coated with a thick, syrupy secretion.
viscous: of a liquid, not pouring freely; having the consistency of syrup or honey.
viviparous: of seeds or fruits, germinating before being shed from the parent plant.
whorl: a ring of leaves, bracts or floral parts borne at the same level on an axis.
wing: a membranous expansion of a fruit or seed, which aids dispersal; a thin flange of tissue extended beyond the normal outline of a stem or petiole; a lateral petal of a flower in fabaceae.
xeromorph: a plant having structural features usually associated with plants of arid habitats (such as hard or succulent leaves) but not necessarily drought-tolerant. cf. scleromorph, xerophyte.
xerophyte: a drought-tolerant plant. cf. xeromorph.
xylem: the tissue, in a vascular plant, that conducts water and mineral salts from the roots to the leaves.
zygomorphic: of a flower or calyx or corolla, symmetrical about one plane only, usually the plane that bisects the flower vertically. cf. actinomorphic.