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Glossary: C

caducous
Falling off very early in the season or stage of development of an organ.
calcareous
Containing calcium carbonate (lime), usually referring to soil or bedrock.
callous
With a thick, firm texture.
callus callus
Horned, tough projection, or tissue that grows over a wound.
calyculate calyculate
With a set of small bracts at the base of an involucre.
calyx calyx
The outer whorl of floral organs, usually consisting of sepals.
campanulate campanulate
Bell-like.
caniculate caniculate
With longitudinal channels.
cap cap
Convex removable portion of a plant part.
capillary capillary
Very fine and hair-like.
capitate capitate
Abruptly expanding at the apex, like a knob.
capitulescence capitulescence
A group of capitula or heads (infloresences of Asteraceae).
capitulum capitulum
A type of inflorescence, found mostly in the Asteraceae (aster family) composed of many flowers borne on an expanded receptacle and subtended by a common involucre (plural: capitula).
capsule capsule
A dry, dehiscent fruit that opens along two or more seams (valves), pores, or teeth to release two or more seeds.
carpel carpel
One type of hightly modified leaves of a flower, bearing the ovules and usually composed of an ovary, style, and stigma.
carpellate carpellate
With female organs (carpels).
caryopsis caryopsis
A type of achene in grasses, in which the seed coat is joined to the pericarp.
catkin catkin
Ament: a slender, usually pendulous inflorescence, with crowded male or female flowers.
caudate caudate
With a tail-like basal or terminal appendage.
caudex caudex
A hardened summit of a root mass, which usually survives the winter.
cauline
Arising on the stem.
central cavity central cavity
In some horsetails (Equisetum species), the main hollow center of the stem.
cespitose cespitose
Growing in dense clusters, as a clump or tuft (alternate spelling: "caespitose").
chaff chaff
Small, papery scale, often associated with the base of a ray or disk flower in Asteraceae.
chambered pith chambered pith
Interior branchlet tissue divided into many empty horizontal chambers by solid cross partitions.
chartaceous chartaceous
With the texture of paper.
chasmogamous chasmogamous
Flowers that are pollinated when they are open (opposite: "cleistogamous").
chlorophyll
The pigment that gives a plant its green color and absorbs light energy, the first step in photosynthesis.
cilia cilia
Hairs found at the margin of an organ.
ciliate ciliate
With hairs (cilia) at the edges.
circinate circinate
Coiled inward upon itself, like a fern crozier or some tendrils of vines.
circumboreal circumboreal
An encircling region of habitats between the temperate zone and the Arctic.
clasping clasping
Closely surrounding the stem, as when the bases of a leaf almost meet on either side of the stem.
clathrate clathrate
Lattice-like.
clavate clavate
Widened at the distal end, like a baseball bat or club.
claw claw
A narrowed portion at the base of an otherwise flat structure, such as a petal.
cleistogamous cleistogamous
Flowers that self-pollinate when they are still closed (opposite: "chasmogamous").
coetaneous
When organs such as the leaves and flowers expand at about the same time.
coleoptile coleoptile
The sheath of tissue that protects the emerging shoot of monocots.
collar collar
Encircling band of tissue.
collateral bud collateral bud
An extra bud placed next to a bud on the side of a branch.
colonial colonial
Forming clusters of plants by vegetative spreading via rhizomes or stolons.
column column
A cylindrical body formed by the fusion of organs; in orchids, the central body that contains the styles and stamens.
coma coma
A tuft of hairs resembling a tail; a structure in seeds that aids in dispersal.
commissure commissure
The surface where two carpels cohere.
comose comose
With a tuft of hairs (coma), usually referring to a seed.
compound compound
Comprised of multiple separate parts.
compound leaf compound leaf
A leaf that is divided to the midrib, with distinct, expanded portions called leaflets.
concave concave
U-shaped; curving inward.
conduplicate conduplicate
Folded lengthwise into equal parts.
congested congested
Crowded.
conic conic
Shaped like a cone (3-dimensional triangle with a round base).
conical conical
Shaped like a cone (3-dimensional triangle with a round base).
conifer conifer
A cone-bearing seed plant with vascular tissue; a gymnosperm.
connate connate
Two similar organs are fused, grown together, or mutually attached, such as flower petals fused to form a corolla tube.
connivent connivent
Touching, but not actually joined, referring to two similar organs.
constricted constricted
Abruptly narrowed.
contiguous
Adjacent and touching.
contorted contorted
Petals or sepals that overlap their neighbors on one side, and are overlapped by another neighbor on the other side.
convex convex
Curving or bulging outward, like an upside-down U.
convolute convolute
Each petal, sepal or leaf overlaps most of the next, so the whole structure (usually in bud) looks like a closed umbrella.
coralloid coralloid
Like coral.
cordate cordate
Heart-shaped; with a rounded lobe on each side of a central sinus.
coriaceous
With a firm, leathery texture.
corm corm
Underground vertical stem that is not enclosed by leaves (i.e., of some orchids), usually acting as a storage organ.
corolla corolla
The second (inner) whorl of floral organs, enclosed by the calyx, often consisting of petals.
corona
A set of lobes or projections that form an often crown-like series above the petals, such as the hoods and horns in the genus Asclepias (milkweed).
corpusculum corpusculum
A sticky gland to which a pollinium is attached (in the Apocynaceae).
corymb corymb
An indeterminate inflorescence that has long lower branches and progressively shorter upper branches that create a more or less flat-topped shape.
costa costa
The midrib of a fern pinna; the midrib of a leaflet.
costule costule
The midrib of a fern pinnule (leafulelet).
cotyledon cotyledon
The first leaf produced by the embryo before the true leaves begin to grow after germination.
creeping creeping
Growing along the ground, sometimes rooting at intervals.
crenate crenate
With rounded teeth.
crenulate
With fine rounded teeth; finely crenate.
cristate cristate
Covered with crest-like ridges; usually refers to the texture of a quillwort (Isoetes) megaspore.
crown crown
A summit that is surrounded by a lobed or toothed rim (usually refers to a pappus).
cucullate cucullate
Hood-shaped.
culm
Stem of a grass (Poaceae) or sedge (Cyperaceae).
cuneate cuneate
Wedge-shaped; tapering to the base with relatively straight, non-parallel margins.
cupuliform cupuliform
Shaped like a cup.
cyathium cyathium
A cup-like involucre with the flowers inserted on it, found in members of the Euporbiaceae (plural: cyathia).
cycle cycle
Whorl, usually referring to series of structures such as petals or sepals in a flower.
cylindric cylindric
Shaped like a soda can, with parallel sides and circular ends.
cylindrical cylindrical
Shaped like a soda can, with parallel sides and circular ends.
cyme cyme
Flower cluster (inflorescence) with stalks (pedicels) on the individual flowers, usually broad and rather flat. Middle flowers usually come into bloom first, which causes the central axis of the inflorescence to stop growing (it is determinate).
cypsela cypsela
A special type of achene that has a pappus (a bristly or scaly structure formed out of the calyx) attached to the apex, found in species of the Asteraceae and Caprifoliaceae.
cystolith
Dots of calcium carbonate found on some leaves of the Urticaceae.