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Posts tagged [roots]

Herbal Anatomy


ANNUAL PLANTS spring from the seed, make their full growth  and then die at the end of a season.


A BIENNIAL PLANT does not flower the first year, but produces leaves only. The second year of its growth it flowers, after which it dies. The carrot and parsnip are examples of biennials


A PERENNIAL PLANT lives for more than two years. If the plant retains its leaves during the winter, it is known as an EVERGREEN; if the leaves fall upon the approach of cold weather, it is said to be DECIDUOUS.


AN HERB is a plant having a soft stem which dies down to the ground after the plant has reached it full growth.


A SHRUB is a plant which has a woody stem, grows to a height of twenty-five to thirty feet or less, and branches near the ground.


A  TREE has a woody stem, is higher than a shrub and does NOT branch near the ground.


  A  STOLON is a form of a branch which curves or falls down to the ground, where they often strike root.


A CLIMBING PLANT is any plant using an external support to raise itself above the ground. The term “vine” is used for certain climbing plants.



A  SUCKER is a branch of subterraneous origin, which, after running horizontally and emitting roots in its course, at length rises out of  the ground and forms an erect stem, which soon becomes an independent plant.  Examples are roses, raspberries, mints.


A RUNNER is a prostrate, slender branch sent off from the base of the parent stem.


An OFFSET is a similar but shorter branch, with a tuft of leaves at the end, as in the house-leek.


A SPINE  is a short and imperfectly developed branch of a woody plant, as exhibited in the honey-locust.


A TENDRIL is commonly a slender leafless branch, capable of coiling spirally, like grapevines.


WHORLED  several stems, leaves or flowers, arising in a ring around the stem.













Definition of The ROOT.     The ROOT of a plant is that portion which is usually found in the earth, the stem and leaves being in the air.  The point of union is called the collar or neck of the plant.


ADVENTITIOUS  ROOT   is a root developing on a part of a plant (stem) other than a root.


ANTHROPOMORPHIC  shaped like a human being


AREIAL ROOTS are those emitted from the stem into the open air.


A BULB  is an extremely abbreviated stem clothed with scales, such as a lily.


A CORM  swollen base of a stem, not consisting of layers.


A  CONICAL ROOT is one where it tapers regularly from the crown to the apex, as that of a carrot.


A  FASCICULATED ROOT is  a root where some of the fibers or branches are thickened.


The FIBROUS ROOT  is one composed of many spreading branches.


A  FUSIFORM ROOT  is a root that tapers up as well as down, such as the radish.


A  NAPIFORM ROOT is more swollen at the base, and becomes broader rather than long, such as a turnip. 


A  PALMATE ROOT is when these knobs are branched.


A  RHIZOME, swollen underground stem lasting more than one year


ROOT STOCK  swollen underground part of a plant.


TAPROOT  is the main root


A  TUBER swollen underground portion of a root or stem.


A TUBERIFEROUS ROOT is when some of the branches assume the form of a rounded knob, such as the potato.













Definition of STEM:      The  STEM is that portion of the plant which grows in an opposite direction from the root, seeing the light and exposing itself to the air. 


All flowering plants posses stems.



The stem of an herb does not become woody, but dies down to the ground at least after flowering.


The  stem of  tree is usually called the trunk.


The stem in grasses is the cuim.


Those stems which are too weak to stand erect are said to be decumbent, procumbent and prostrate.












The leaf is commonly raised on an unexpanded part or stalk which is call the petiole, while the expanded portion is termed the lamina, limb or blade. When the vessels or fibers of the leaves expand immediately on leaving the stem, the leaf is said to be sessile. In such cases the petiole is absent. When the blade consists of a single piece, the leaf is simple; when composed of two or three more with a branched petiole, the leaf is compound.



The distribution of the veins or framework of the leaf in the blade is termed venation.



A linear leaf is an elongated shape with nearly parallel sides.


A lanceolate leaf has the form of a lance ;  wide in the middle and gradually tapering  at each end.


An ovate leaf is oval shaped.


an obovate leaf  is one having the veins more developed beyond the middle of the blade.


A cuneiform  ( or cuneate)     leaf is wedge shaped


A cordate leaf is heart shaped


A reniform is kidney shaped


A sagittate leaf is arrow shaped


 A hastate leaf  is shaped like the head of a spear with sharp basal lobes spreading away from the base of the petiole


A peltate leaf is shaped like a shield


A serrate leaf  is one in which the margin is beset with sharp teeth, which point forward towards the apex.


A dentate leaf   these teeth are NOT directed towards the apex


A crenate leaf has rounded teeth


A sinuate leaf has alternate concavities and convexities (wavy)



a pinnate leaf is shaped like a feather


a pectinate leaf has very close and narrow divisions, like the teeth of a comb.


A lyrate leaf has the shape of a lyre


A runcinate leaf is  a lyrate leaf with sharp lobes pointing towards the base, like a dandelion leave.


A palmate leaf  resembles the hand


a pedate leaf  looks like a bird's foot


leaves which arise directly from a rootstock, not from an aerial stem are said to be radical


Rosette leaves are clustered at ground level

Sessil    leaves have no stalk

Truncate leaves are cut off straight across.


When a leaf at its outer edge has no dentations it is said to be entire.

When the leaf terminates in an acute angle it is acute, when in an obuse angle it is obtuse.  An obtuse leaf with the apex slightly depressed is retuse, or if more strongly notched emarginate.


An obovate leaf with a wider or more conspicuous notch at the apex becomes obcordate, being a cordate leaf inverted.


When the apex is cut off by a straight transverse line the leaf is truncate, when abruptly terminated by a small projecting  point it is mucronate; and when an acute leaf has a narrowed apex it is acuminate.


In ferns the leaves are called fronds.



The organs of a flower are of two sorts.

1)                  the leaves ( or envelopes).

2)                  Those peculiar organs having no resemblance to the envelopes.


The envelopes are of two kinds (or occupy two rows, one above or within the other) :

      1)  the lower or outer row is termed the Calyx, and commonly exhibits the green color of the leaves.


      2)  the inner row, which is usually of more delicate texture and forms the most showy part of the flower, is termed the Corolla.


The several parts of the leaves of the Corolla are called Petals, and the leaves of the Calyx are also called  Sepals.


The floral envelopes are collectively called the Perianth.


The essential organs enclosed within a floral envelope are also of two kinds and occupy two rows one within the other. The first of these, those next within the petals, are the Stamens. A stamen consists of a stalk called the Filament, which bears on its summit a rounded body termed the Anther, filled with a substance called the Pollen.


The seed bearing organs occupy the center or summit of a flower, and are called Pistils.  A pistil is distinguished into three parts;

1)   the ovary containing the ovales (ovule)

2)   the style, or columnar prolongation of the ovary

3)                  the stigma or termination of the style.


All the organs of the flower are situated on, or grow out of the apex of the flower stalk, into which they are inserted and which is called the Torus or Receptacle.


A plant is said to be monoecious, where the stamens and pistils are in separate flowers on the same individual , dioecious, where they occupy separate flowers on different individuals, and polygamous where the stamens and pistils are separate in some flowers and untied in others, either on the same or two or three different plants.



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