Physical Setting
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
Physical Setting
Tucson Plants
Tucson Animals
External Resources
Background: | plant terms | flowering plant life cycle | types of photosynthesis | Tucson Mt. plants | plant list | thumbnails by color |


This page introduces you to the abundant terminology related to plants.

Annual: plant that lives less than one year
Biennial: plant that lives two years
Perennial: plant that lives more than two years

Life Form:
: woody plant tall enough to walk under (although we push this definition here)
Shrub: woody plant not tall enough to walk under
Succulent: plant that stores water in its root, stem, and/or leaf tissue (e.g., cactus)
Herb: non-woody plant, here grouped under "wildflowers" and "others"

flowerFlower: Four rings of structures for reproduction:

  • Sepals: protective cover for flower bud.
  • Petals: attract pollinators
  • Stamens: male reproductive organs
    • Anther on top produces pollen (sperm)
    • Filament holds anther up
  • Pistil: female reproductive organs
    • Stigma on top accepts pollen
    • Style holds stigma up
    • Ovary produces eggs/seeds

Perfect Flowers: have functional stamens and pistil.
Imperfect Flowers: have either stamens or pistils.

  • Dioecious Plants: male and female flowers on separate plants, thus have male plants and female plants.
  • Monoecious Plants: male and female flowers on same plant, thus each plant is both male and female but each flower is either male or female (imperfect).

Blade: flat surface

  • blade margins: (many more)
    • entire: leaf has smooth margin
    • toothed: leaf has small "teeth" along margin (as pictured here)
    • lobed: leaf has deeper indentations
Petiole: stalk holding blade
Expanded Leaf Base: connects leaf to twig

Leaf Structure:
One blade

Simple Pinnately Compound:
Blade divided into leaflets once

Bipinnately Compound:
Blade divided into primary and secondary leaflets
Palmately Compound:
Leaflets radiate from central point

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