A BOTANICAL GLOSSARY

with particular emphasis on terms pertaining to the study of carnivorous plants

(rev 1.5 Part P)
Peter Cole - September 1996
Copy freely unaltered for non-commercial purposes.

Glossary Index.

pale (n)
a membrane dividing distinct parts of a plant structure

palea (n)
a chaff-like bract usually found in grasses

palmate (adj)
5-lobed, with the midribs joined at a common point

pandurate (adj)
in the shape of a violin; an oval figure with sides pinched in to produce 2 lobes, one larger than the other

panduriform (adj)
in the shape of a violin; an oval figure with sides pinched in to produce 2 lobes, one larger than the other

panicle (n)
a branching cluster of flowers esp. where formed by a series of racemes branching from a main axis

parabiosis (n)
the natural or artificial joining or grafting of two organisms

parabolical (adj)
a more rounded form of rhomboid

parietal (adj)
of the wall of a hollow stem or other structure; borne on the inner surface of a capsule

parted (adj)
lobed, but only joined by the base

passive trap(n)
a trap which is incapable of movement to catch or detain its prey

patelliform (adj)
kneecap shaped; broadly round, convex on one side and concave on the other

pedate (adj)
palmate, but with the first and fifth lobes tridentate, to give a 7-fid leaf overall

pedicel (n)
any small, stalk-like structure

peduncle (n)
the stalk of a flower, inflorescence or fruit

peltate (adj)
shield-shaped

penicillate (adj)
having or forming small tufts

penicillatate (adj)
brush-shaped

pennate (adj)
tapering

perianth (n)
the collective parts of the calyx and corolla when these are similar: the outer part of a flower

pericarp (n)
the part of a fruit formed from the wall of a ripened ovary

perigone (n)
perianth

perigynous (adj)
(of stamens) surrounding the pistil

perisperm (n)
the nutritive portion of the endosperm of some seeds, that lies outside the embryo-sac.

peristome (n)
a fringe of small teeth around the mouth of many nepenthes

persistent (adj)
(of leaves etc,) remaining on the plant when dead instead of falling off

personate (adj)
of a monopetalous corolla where the lip of which is unequally divided; appearing in the form of a gaping animal

petal (n)
the floral modified leaves of a flower that comprise the corolla

petaloid (adj)
resembling a petal in colour or texture

petiolate (adj)
relating to, or in the form of a petiole

petiole (n)
the usually slender stalk of a leaf

photosynthesis (n)
the process whereby sunlight is converted into energy by chlorophyll

phyllodium (n)
broad flat leaf produced on Sarracenias instead of pitchers in response to stress or Winter

piliferous (adj)
terminationg in a fine, soft hair

Pinguicula (g)
a very widespread genus of over 50 species of carnivorous plant with sticky, trapping leaves capable of limited movement; Butterwort

pistil (n)
the stigma, style and ovary collectively; the female reproductive organs

pitcher (n)
a pitfall trap formed from a leaf modified by rolling with the sides fused into a keel

pitcher plant (n)
an unspecific name applied to plants of the genera Cephalotus, Heliamphora, Nepenthes and Sarracenia

placentiform (adj)
thick-rimmed round body, concave on upper and lower surfaces

placentation (adj)
the formation of ovules on the wall of the ovary

plane (adj)
a perfectly flat surface

poculiform (adj)
cup-shaped

pollination (n)
the process of fertilisation whereby pollen is transferred from the stamen to the stigma

polymorphic (adj)
of very variable shape

Polypompholyx (g)
a former genus of carnivorous plant from Australia, currently incorporated in Utricularia

praemorsous (adj)
bitten; ragged as if chewed

prismatic (adj)
prism-shaped; having several longitudinous angles and intermediate flat faces

proboscidate (adj)
beaked; similar to corniculate

prostrate (adj)
lying horizontally

pruinose (adj)
frosted with white powder

pterate (adj)
winged, eg: dipterate - 2-winged, tripterate - 3-winged

puberulous (adj)
somewhat pubescent

pubescent (n)
covered in soft down

pulvinate (adj)
convex or slightly so

pungent (adj)
tapering evenly to a sharp point

pyriform (adj)
pear-shaped; more elongated than turbinate


(c) Peter Cole 1995

I originally wrote much of this file to help me understand many of the terms employed in Danser's Nepenthes monographs and Obermeyer's work on South African Drosera (both on the CP web site.) I have probably missed a few due to the sheer size of the works. If there any words you feel should be included or redefined (not necessarily from Danser or Obermeyer,) feel free to Email me at:

carnivor@bunyip.demon.co.uk