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Science Vocabulary: List of Plant Morphology Terms

Plant morphology, also called phytomorphology, is the study of physical characteristics of plants. Plant morphology utilizes a wide number of various terms in describing organs and parts of plants which can be seen by the eye using a magnifying lens. Plant morphology terms are used in the identification and classification of plants. Morphology is comparative in nature as morphologists (or those who study morphology) study structures in different plants of the same species, drawing comparisons and then formulating ideas about their similarities.

 

Plant Morphology

Plant morphology, also called phytomorphology, is the study of physical characteristics of plants. Plant morphology utilizes a wide number of various terms in describing organs and parts of plants which can be seen by the eye using a magnifying lens. Plant morphology terms are used in the identification and classification of plants. Morphology is comparative in nature as morphologists (or those who study morphology) study structures in different plants of the same species, drawing comparisons and then formulating ideas about their similarities.

Plant Growth

Morphologists have devised a long list of plant morphology terms to characterize plants according to the way they grow. Plants which have its leaves rising from the ground and apparently without a stem are called acauslescent, while those which grow like trees with a solitary woody stem are called arborsecent.

On the other hand, plants which grow upright are called ascending, while caducous are those which fall away early while creeping plants are those which grow along the ground.

Deflexed plants pertain to those bending downward, while epigeal plants live on the ground surface.

Epilithic plants grow on rock surfaces while epiphloedal plants grow on the bark of various trees, and epiphyte grow on other organisms although not parasitic in nature.

Morphologists also call plants as equinoctial when it has flowers that close and open during certain parts of the day, while precocious plants refer to those which flower even before the emerging of the leaves.

Buds

The buds of a plant can also be used in coming up with plant morphology terms. For instance, an accessory bud pertains to embryonic shoot on the upper or side of any auxiliary bud, while leaf bud is a bud producing a leafy shoot.

Latent bud is a type of auxiliary bud with inhibited development, also referred to as dormant bud.

There is also the terminal bud which is located at the tip of the stem, while the vegetative bud contains embryonic leaves.

Leaf

The leaf of a plant is also a basis for many plant morphology terms. For instance, Acrodramous refer to the parallel running of the veins while actinodromous occur when the veins of a leaf start from the edge of the petiole.

Macrophyllous leaves are characterized with a branching vascular, while whorls are three or more branches or leaves that arise from one node.

Leaf shape is another popular basis for making morphology terms such as acuminate referring to tapered long point; cordate which is a stem with a heart shape attaching to the left, and deltoid that is a triangular stem attaching to the side.

There is also the lobed which pertains to leaves with several points; linear which is narrow and long; and lance shaped which is long and becomes wide in the middle.

The oblanceolate leaf pertains to one wide at the top compared to the bottom, while the digitate is a leaf divided into lobes. The oblong leaf has an elongated form, while orbicular is a leaf with a circular shape. Rhomboid leaves are diamond shaped, reniform are kidney shaped while sword-shaped are thin, long and pointed.

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