Biological Terminology Glossary – Botanical Terms and Definitions

Adventitious roots:
Roots grow from the stem or leaf rather than from the root system of a plant. Anabolism Synthesis of complex organic molecules from simple molecules during metabolism.

Algae:
Lowest aquatic green plants of Thallophyte group.

Anaphase:
The stage in cell division in which chromatids or chromosomes move towards opposite poles. It begins with the splitting of the sister chromatids. They separate at their disk-like centromeres and are pulled apart by the contracting action of the spindle.

Annual rings:
Concentric rings are seen in a cross-section of a tree trunk each representing the age of the plant.

Annulus:
A ring-like structure present on the stalk of a mushroom showing the remnant of the velum.

Anthidium:
The male sperm-bearing organ of lower plants such as ferns, algae, and mosses.

Aquatic Plants (Hydrophytes):
Plants were grown in water.

Archegonium:
Female, the egg-bearing organ of lower plants like ferns, mosses, etc.

Bark:
The outermost corky sheath of trees and shrubs.

Basidia:
The club-shaped cells in the gills of mushrooms give rise to haploid spores called ‘basidiospores’.

Basidioscarp:
The fruity body of the mushroom and other fungi.

Biennial:
Plants that complete their life cycle in two years.

Blight:
Any of the plant diseases that result in the sudden death of leaves growing tips, or an entire plant. Bryophytes refer to ‘Classification of the Plant Kingdom’.

Bud:
An outgrowth on a stem or branch often enclosed in protective scales, comprising a shortened stem and immature leaves or floral parts; a partially opened immature flower.

Bulb:
A disc-shaped condensed underground stem with fleshy leaves, for example, onion or turnip, usually surrounded by scale-like modified leaves and containing stored food for the undeveloped shoots of the new plant enclosed within it.

Cactus:
Desert plants, most of which lack leaves to minimize water loss. They are characterized by thick, fleshy often prickly stems that function as leaves.

Callus:
A thick layer of scar tissue forms over a wounded area of stem or trunk to protect the inner tissues from exposure.

Calyx:
A protective portion of a flower consisting of sepals.

Cambium:
A layer of cells in between the xylem and phloem increases the growth of the plant.

Carnivorous Plants:
Plants which make food from insects, for example, pitcher plant.

Catabolism:
The part of the metabolism in which chemical substances in living things are broken down into simpler substances. The process usually releases energy.

Cellulose:
A kind of carbohydrate, the main component of the cell wall of a plant.

Centriole:
The part of a cell that is important in the formation of a spindle during the process of cell division.

Chlorophyll:
The green pigment found in all plants capable of photosynthesis. The molecules of chlorophyll absorb energy from sunlight and make it available for the synthesis of organic material.

Chloroplast:
Colored plastids containing pigments other than chlorophyll. They give color to flowers and fruits.

Chlorosis:
A disorder that affects a plant’s ability to form chlorophyll.

Chromatin:
The hereditary substance of the nucleus. It is a network of threads in the nucleus of a cell that shows up when the cell is stained with certain dyes.

Cladophyll:
The modified flattened stem functions and resembles a leaf, Also called ‘Cladode’, ‘Phylloclade’.

Cilia:
Hair-like cell prolongations meant for locomotion.

Citrus fruit:
Fruit of the citrus (orange) group.

Coennocoeti/Coenocyte:
The protoplast or cell containing many nuclei. It is found in many fungi and some green algae.

Corm:
A swell on underground stem having buds. It is responsible for vegetative growth.

Cotyledon:
An embryonic leaf in a seed that usually stores food matters.

Cryptogam:
The non-flowering seedless plant produces spores, for example, algae, mosses, fungi, and ferns.

Cuticle:
Non-cellular waxy layer found on the surface of stems and leaves to prevent water loss. Also, a strip of hardened skin at the base of a fingernail or toenail.

Deciduous:
Plants that shed leaves to eliminate water loss. In tropical regions, it is in the hot summer, and in temperate areas, it is winter when such plants shed leaves.

Decumbent stem:
A creeping stem in which tips turn upward at or near the apex.

Dicotyledons:
Plants whose seeds contain two cotyledons, for example, gram.

Dichotomous Branching:
A kind of branching in which the main branch or axis stops growing when lateral branches appear on it.

Dyctyosome:
Plant cell organelles which are formed of small bag-like folds of membrane and vesicles that contain metabolite cell.

Ectoderm:
A layer of tissue in an animal embryo later develops into cellular material in the epidermis and nerve cell.

Endocarp:
An innermost often hard or leathery layer of the fruit wall.

Endodermis:
The innermost layer of cortex surrounding vascular bundles,  found in all roots and stem of certain plants which controls the passage of water.

Endosperms:
The nutritive tissue surrounding and absorbed by the embryo in flowering plants.

Epidermis:
The outermost cell layer of an organism.

Epiphyte:
Plants whose roots grow upon stems or branches of other plants.

Exocarp:
The outermost layer of the fruit wall from the skin in many fleshy fruits.

Ferns:
A large group of primitive plants of the plant kingdom grows in moist shady floors in tropical and sub-tropical climates.

Fossils:
Remains of an organism preserved I rocks.

Fungus:
A non-flowering plant that lacks chlorophyll and cannot manufacture its own food and therefore depends entirely on either living or dead organic substances.

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