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Botanical Terminology Tutorial
Leaf Arrangement
Leaf Shape
Leaf Margin
Leaf Apex
Leaf Base
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Alphabetical w/ Definitions

  1. Deciduous
    A non-evergreen plant that loses it leaves after its growing season.

  2. Decumbent
    A plant structure that grows along the ground with the tip curving upward (See also Prostrate).

  3. Decurrent
    A leaf blade that attaches to and runs down the stem to the connecting point.

  4. Decussate
    Leaves arranged in opposite pairs, rotating 90º at every node (See also Distichous).

  5. Dehiscent
    An organ splitting open when ripe; commonly used for seed pods and anthers (for pollen release).

  6. Deltoid
    Triangular like the Greek letter Delta, bottom two corners can be angular or rounded.

  7. Dentate
    Square or rectangular teeth along margin pointing outward (See also Serrate and Crenate).

  8. Denticulate
    Diminutive of dentate with very small square or rectangular teeth.

  9. Determinate
    Predefined end of growth; in flowers the terminal flower blooms first stopping the elongation of the main axis.

  10. Dialated
    Expanded or flaring open.

  11. Dichotomous
    Veins extend from a common point forming a “y” pattern and fanning out as each vein branches into two.

  12. Dioecious
    Plants that have all male or all female flowers but not both; often referred to as having “two houses”. Dioecious plants are thus either male or female.

  13. Dissected
    A part of a plant that is deeply divided into narrow segments (See also Incised).

  14. Distichous
    Leaves are arranged in two ranks along either side of a stem (See also Decussate).

  15. Divergent
    Splitting or spreading apart.

  16. Divided
    Split, cut, or lobed all the way to the base or midrib.

  17. Doubly-Serrate
    Forward pointing teeth with each tooth (serration) having smaller serrations on it.

  18. Downy
    Covered by a mass of small fine hairs that are soft.

Tutorial Terms

Leaf Apex

Leaf Arrangement

Leaf Base

Leaf Margin

Leaf Shape



©2005 Gary J. Kling, Laura L. Hayden, and Joshua J. Potts University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Notes about this tutorial.