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  • Abscission Layer
    Layer that forms across stalk of leaf or fruit cutting it off from supplies in the plant and causing it to fall.
  • Adventitious
    Describes the growth from an unusual place such as the roots growing from the stem.
  • Aerial Root
    A root that grows out from a stem above ground level.
  • Aestivation
    Arrangement, with folding, of flower parts in bud.
  • Alpine
    Strictly, a plant native to mountains, but generally any small-growing plant suitable for a rockery or miniature garden.
  • Androecium
    Collective term for the stamens of flowers.
  • Anemophily
    Pollination by pollen carried in wind.
  • Annual
    A plant that grows from seed, flowers and dies in one season or any plant that can be treated in such a manner.
  • Apex
    Extreme tip of root, shoot or branch from which new growth usually occurs.
  • Aphid
    One of a group of insects which feed on plant juices.
  • Apical dominance
    influence exerted from a stem apex which prevents the development of most of the buds below it.
  • Aquatic
    A plant that lives partly or wholly in water.
  • Areole
    A woolly or hairy tuft found on cacti.
  • Aroid
    A member of the Araceae, the family that includes Monstera.
  • Axil
    The angle between a stem and a petiole. An axillary bud often grows there


  • Bedding plant
    Any plant Used for temporary display in a garden.
  • Bicoloured
    Describes a flower having double colouring on the same petal.
  • Biennial
    A plant that grows from seed one year, overwinters and flowers the next season, then dies.
  • Bigeneric
    Of a hybrid, having parents from two different genera.
  • Bracts
    Modified leaves surrounding a flower, sometimes much more colourful than the flower itself.
  • Break
    Formation of side shoots, generally after stopping.
  • Bromeliad
    A member of the pineapple family
  • Bulb
    Swollen underground bud that stores food and enables some plants to overwinter.
  • Bulbil
    Small, immature bulb


  • Calcifuge
    A lime-hating plant. One that will not grow in chalky or alkeline soil.
  • Cheshunt compound
    A mixture of 2 parts copper sulphate and 11 parts ammonium carbonate used to protect seedlings from fungal attack.
  • Compost
    Either decomposed plant remains or the mixture of soil and other ingredients used to grow plants in pots or generally improve the soil.
  • Compound
    Describes a leaf made up of two or more distinct parts called leaflets or a flower made up of many florets.
  • Container plant
    One that is grown and sold by the nursery in a pot or container. As root disturbance is minimal these plants can be planted out at almost any time.
  • Corm
    The swollen base of a plant's stem serving the same function as a bulb.
  • Crocks
    Pieces of broken pot, stones, etc. Used to aid drainage in pots.
  • Cultivar
    A cultivated variety. A Variety of plant bred in cultivation.
  • Cutting
    A piece of a plant used to grow a whole new plant.


  • Deciduous
    Describes plants that shed their leaves in winter.
  • Dormant
    Describes a plant that has temporarily stopped growing, generally in winter.
  • Double
    Describes a flower that has more than the normal number of petals.


  • Epiphyte
    An 'air plant' that lives above ground level, generally in tree branches or rocks. It is not a parasite and gains its food and water from falling debris and rain.
  • Evergreen
    A plant that retains its leaves all year round.
  • Everlastings
    Plants with dry, straw like flowers that can be preserved as cut flowers for a long time.


  • F1 hybrid
    A first generation hybrid whose parents are different pure bred strains.
    Generally much more vigorous than ordinary hybrids the seed must be produced by controlled hand pollination.
  • Family
    One of the major groupings of plants, made-up of genera whose members have broad similarities.
  • Flore pleno
    An extreme double.
  • Forcing
    The use of heat and/or light to induce abnormally early growth or flowering.
  • Fungicide
    A chemical to combat fungus diseases.
  • Fungus
    A form of plant life that includes mushrooms and toadstools and also some of the most important microscopic disease-producing organisms of plants.


  • genus
    A fundamental botanical grouping containing anything from one to hundreds of species.
  • Gesneriad
    A member of the African Violet family.
  • Glabrous
    Smooth, not hairy.
  • Glacous
    Bluish grey or bluish green.
  • Glochid
    A hooked hair found on some cacti.
  • Grafting
    Joining a detached stem or branch of one plant onto that of another so that they unite.


  • Habit
    The general shape or growth form of a plant such as trailing, climbing, bushy etc.
  • Half hardy
    Describes a plant that cannot spend all year outdoors. Generally frost intolerant.
  • Hardening off
    Exposing a young plant grown under glass to gradually reducing temperatures before planting out.
  • Herbaceous
    Describes a plant having a soft (not woody) stem which generally dies down in the dormant period.
  • Humus
    Decayed organic matter that is a vital component of topsoil.
  • Hybrid
    A plant produced by crossbreeding two plants of different species or genera.



  • Inflorescence
    The arrangement of one or more flowers in a group on a plant.
  • Insecticide
    A chemical used to combat insect pests.
  • Internode
    The portion of stem between two nodes.


  • Leaf-mold
    Partially decayed leaves.
  • Leaflet
    One of the individual small 'leaves' making up a compound leaf.
  • Loam
    Good, fertile soil that is neither too heavy with clay nor too tight with sand and is rich in humus.


  • Mulch
    A layer of peat, compost or other organic material spread on top of the soil around a plant, serving as a fertiliser and to retain soil moisture.
  • Node
    A joint from which a leaf or side shoot grows from a stem. 


  • Offset
    A small plant that grows from its parent. It can be detached and grown on separately. Bulbils and comlets are kinds of offsets.


  • Peat
    Partially decomposed organic matter, mosses or sedges, dug from boggy or fenland areas.
  • Perennial
    A plant that can live for a number of years, in contrast to annuals and biennials.
  • Petiole
    A leaf stalk.
  • Pollination
    The transfer of pollen from the stamens to the stigma of the same or another flower. The necessary first stage of fertilisation and seed production.
  • Pseudo-bulb
    A swollen stem formed by orchids to store water.


  • Quadrigeneric
    Describes a hybrid whose ancestry includes four different genera.


  • Rhyzome
    A horizontally growing Underground stem serving a similar purpose to bulbs and tubers.
  • Root ball
    The thickly matted roots and soil filling the pot of a flourishing pot plant.
  • Runner
    A shoot that grows along the ground, rooting to form new plants.


  • Seedling
    A young plant grown from seed.
  • Self-coloured
    Describes a flower having a single pure colour.
  • Sessile
    Describes a leaf that has no stalk but grows directly from a stem.
  • Shrub
    A woody stemmed plant with no trunk.
  • Single
    Describes a flower with the normal number of petals unlike the double.
  • Spadix
    A fleshy flower spike generally surrounded by a spathe.Spatha
    A large, often coloured bract surrounding the spadix of various plants.
  • Species
    A distinct kind of plant that always breeds true. The principle division in the living world, forming a sub-division of a genus.
  • Spore
    The equivalent of a seed in lower plants such as ferns.
  • Sport
    A plant that suddenly develops an unusual characteristic such as different leaf or flower colouring that will be passed on to its offspring.
  • Stamens
    The pollen bearing parts of a flower
  • Standard
    A tree or shrub grown on a single tall trunk.
  • Stigma
    The female part of a flower on which the pollen is deposited in pollination.
  • Stolon
    A rooting stem or runner.
  • Stopping
    Pinching out the terminal bud/s to encourage the formation of side shoots
  • Strain
    A particularly fine selection from a seed grown variety.Strike
    The rooting of a cutting
  • Sub-shrub
    A plant part way between a shrub and a herbaceous plant, with some woody growth and some soft.
  • Succulent
    A plant with thick, fleshy stems or leaves that store water.
  • Systemic
    Describes an insecticide or fungicide that acts through the plant. It is absorbed by the plant from the soil or through its leaves and by the disease organism or pest from the plant.


  • Tender
    Describes a plant that must generally be grown indoors or Under glass except in the warmest weather.
  • Tendril
    A small twining stem that helps a plant climb by clinging to supports.
  • Terminal
    Describes the bud or shoot at the end or top of a stem.
  • Terrestrial
    Growing in soil.
  • Tessellated
    Describes petals or leaves that are patterned in contrasting shades or colours often with a marbled effect.
  • Tuber
    A swollen root or underground stem acting as a food store similar to a bulb.


  • Variegated
    Describes leaves that are patterned, blotched or spotted with contrasting colours, generally green with cream, white or silver but sometimes with other colours.
  • Variety
    A sub-division of a species.



  • Whorl
    An arrangement of leaves or flowers like the spokes of a wheel.




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Published by Robin A Cartledge ~ ABN 19 924 273 138 ~ Low Head, Tasmania ~ Contact/Comment