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Surface features [ Botany ]

Dictionary of botanic terminology - index of names

  Distinguishing  features found on any surface of a plant, generally refers to the presence or absence of hairs (trichomes) or other characteristic, such as glands, wax, coatings, colours, patterns etc.  
Some features can be found on virtually any part of a plant, these are named, surface features. Generally the surface features refers to the presence or absence of hairs (trichomes) or other characteristic, such as glands, wax coatings, colours, patterns etc. that combine to give many surface characteristics. To describe the hairiness of an organ (for example a leaf, a fruit, a spine ) botanists describe the trichomes, their abundance, and orientation, collectively called the indumentum. There are over 25 terms used to describe surface features. The following are some of the more common terms:
  • Dendritic: tree-like trichomes
  • Felty: Resembling felt, characterized by short dense packaged and interlaced hairs.
  • Glandular: glands filled with oil or resin cover the surface.
  • Glabrous: the surface is smooth, without pubescence of any kind.
  • Glabrescent: Becoming glabrous over time. In other words, the hairs fall off as the leaf ages.
  • Glaucous: Having a waxy blue-grey appearance due to a bloom or a powdery coating of wax.
  • Hispid: With stout, stiff hairs.
  • Hirsute: With rough, coarse hairs.
  • Papillose: (Also: Papillar; Papillate; Papillary): covered with many papillae.
  • Pruinose: Covered by a waxy powdery substance like in certain fruits (plum and grape)
  • Pubescent: Short, dense, soft downy hairs on the surface.
  • Rugose:  Surface is wrinkly with coarse lines or furrows.
  • Scabrous: covered with short, prickly hairs.
  • Stellate: With stellate hairs (hairs that branch and look like small stars).
  • Strigose: With long, stiff, appressed hairs.
  • Tomentose:  Covered with  long, soft, matted hairs. Wooly..
  • Tuberculate: Covered with tubercles; covered with warty prominences.
  • Verrucose: About the same as tuberculate warted, with warty outgrowths
  • Villous:  Covered with long, soft, straight hairs
  • Viscid: Sticky 
  • Wolly:   covered with woolly-like, matted or free hairs

See also: Surface patterns







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