Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

Flower Formula Key

# Number of parts
# + # Number of parts in sets of sepals and petals
# - # Number of parts in range from # to #
x Number of parts many but less than 20
i Number of parts greater than 20 - usually over 100
( ) Parts joined together
u Parts joined together at bottom only
z Flower not symmetrical all around - bilaterally symmetric
[ ] Occasionally occurring trait
{ } Petals and sepals appear alike so part number is sepals and petals added together


Flowers Flower Clusters Fruits Roots Leaf shapes
Leaf edges Leaf arrangements Leaf parts/divisions Leaf attachment Leaf top/bottoms
Garden Web Glossary Search for over 4400 entries. (opens new window)
Achene Dry, single-seeded fruit which attaches to the fruit wall in only one place.
Adventive Spreading from another population but not persisting or naturalizing
Anther Part of stamen that holds the pollen.
Axil Part of the plant from which leaves or branches attach.
Basal Occurring at the bottom.
Beak A short and stout appendage from a seed or fruit. (not a leaf).
Bearded Having a ring or tuft of long hairs.
Berry A fleshy fruit with 1 or more seeds
Bipinnate Twice pinnate
Bilabiate Two lipped
Bract A special leaf growing from the axil from which a flower or flower-stalk grows. Associated with the flower but not part of the flower.
Calyx All the sepals of a flower together.
Carpel Modified fertile leaf with the ovules. The pistil can have one or more carpels.
Catkin Flowers occurring in a cat's tail shaped inflorescence.
Compound Made up of more than one part, as leaflets of a leaf.
Corolla All the petals of a flower as a unit.
Corymb Cluster of  flowers growing from different points with stems of different lengths - forming a flat or round top.
Cyme Cluster of branched stalked flowers where the top-most blooms first.
Distinct Separate, not growing together.
Divided Cut into more than one distinct part.
Drupe Fleshy fruit enclosing a single hard seed- like a cherry.
Entire Smooth edged.
Escaped Usually cultivated but now growing and reproducing where not planted
Floret Tiny flowers
Foliate Leaf-like.
Free Not attached to different parts of plant.
Frond Leaf of a fern.
Fruit Container for seeds.
Glabrous Without hairs.
Gland A spot which produces a sticky, greasy, or viscous substance.
Head Flower cluster of tightly grouped flowers with very short or no flower stems.
Herb Plant which dies back to the ground in winter. (not woody).
Inflorescence Flower cluster
Internode Area on stem between nodes.
Introduced As best as can be determined, plants growing in areas through human intervention (see Adventive, Escaped, Locally established, Naturalized, Persisting and spreading, and rarely escaped)
Irregular flower Flower that has either petal or sepals are different in shape or direction.
Lenticel area on the bark of stem or root that is slightly raised
Linear Shaped like a line.
Lip An odd shaped petal. ( larger, or 2 connected together, etc.)
Lobe A projecting part bigger than a tooth.
Locally established Growing in a particular place but not widespread (see Naturalized)
Native Plants thought to have evolved in the area rather than being brought in by humans
Naturalized Well established and often widespread (see Locally escaped)
Nerve A prominent vein running lengthwise.
Node Point on a stem where one or more leaves are attached.
Nut Relatively large, dry, fruit with hard walls.
Nutlet Small nut.
Odd-pinnate Pinnate with a leaflet at the end of leaf - yielding and odd number of leaflets.
Opposite Growing directly across from one another.
Ovary Part of flower that holds the ovules (undeveloped seeds).
Obovate Egg-shaped usually about 2 - 3 times long as wide.
Palmate 3 or more lobes in the shape of a palm - coming from 1 point.
Panicle Flower cluster in a teepee shape, stalked flowers on branched stems.
Parasite Living off another organism, usually producing little or no chlorophyll.
Pedicel The stalk (stem) that holds only one flower.
Peduncle The stalk (stem) that holds the flower or flower clusters (inflorescence).
Persisting and spreading Cultivated plants that have only slightly escaped beyond where originally planted
Petal One of the inner set of flower leaves, usually colored.
Petaloid Petal-like.
Petiole The stem or stalk of the leaf.
Pinnate Having 2 rows of parts coming from a single axis. Like a feather.
Pistil Female part of the flower consisting of the ovary, style (stem between ovary and stigma), and stigma (pollen receptor).
Plaited A flattened fold or pleat, as in a petal folded back on itself.
Pod Any kind of dried fruit.
Pollen Male seed of flower.
Prickle Sharp growth coming from skin or bark of plant.
Prostate Flat on the ground.
Raceme Flower cluster in a teepee shape, stalked flowers on UN-branched stems flowering from bottom to top.
Rank A vertical row when viewed from above.
Rarely escaped Cultivated plants that have escaped either vegetatively or from seed, but seldom found
Ray The "petal-like" part of many of the aster flowers.
Regular flower Flower that has all it petals and sepals of the circle the similar in size, shape, and direction.
Rhizome Root structure with underground horizontal stem that have small scaly leaves.
Rosette Cluster of leaves arranged in a circle or disk, often at the base of plant.
Samara Fruit with one seed and wings to float on the air for dispersal.
Scurfy Covered with minute scales.
Sepal Member of the outermost set of flower leaves, usually greenish.
Sessile Having no stem.
Sheath Long tubular structure (like a leaf base) that surrounds another part of plant as a stem.
Simple leaf Leaf occurring as one unit. (with no leaflets.)
Sori Group of reproductive cells that cluster on the leaves of ferns.
Spathe A large leaf-like part around a spike-like group of flower (spadix) that is usually colored.
Spadix Spike of small, crowded flowers on thickened, fleshy axis.
Spike Tall thin cluster if mostly stemless flowers
Spur Hollow appendage on either petal or sepal.
Stamen Male part of flower holding the pollen.
Standard The top-most petal often with 2-lobes making it appear to be 2 petals instead of one.
Stigma Part of pistil (female part of flower) that receives the pollen.
Staminode A sterile stamen-like part of the flower, may look like a petal but in typical position of a stamen
Stipule An appendage at the base of the leaf stem which is part of the leaf and usually is paired.
Stolon Horizontal stem above the ground which roots at its nodes producing a new plant.
Style Stem-like part of pistil (female part of flower) between the stigma (pollen receptor) and ovary.
Substend Occurring below.
Tendril Thin soiling or twinning part of leaf or stem that is used to climb.
Tepal A sepal and petal that look the same.
Thallus Plant in which the roots, stems, and leaves cannot be distinguished from one another.
Thorn Woody, stiff, pointed projection.
Twinning Growing in a spiral.
Umbel Cluster of unbranched stemmed flowers all coming from one point blooming at about the same time. Flat or rounded.
Vascular Having veins to carry fluids.
Whorl A ring of 3 or more parts radiating from one point.
Wing Thin, flat extension coming from the side or tip of plant part.
Zygomorphic Non-symmetrical shape such that when divided top to bottom, both sides are the mirror images of each other.

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