Glossary of Tree Terms

Acicular- Needlelike.

Angiosperm- Means 'enclosed seeds' and identifies trees usually known as hardwoods.

Bract- A thin leaf-like structure often extending past the cone scale on conifers.

Cone- Seed bearing structure of certain gymnosperms.

Conifer- A gymnosperm which bears cones.

Cultivar (cultivated variety)- A unique form or type propagated and maintained for specific purposes.

Deciduous- Characteristic of leaves dropping in the fall.

Dioecious- Having only one sex per plant.

Drupe- A simple fleshy fruit which often has only one seed.

Evergreen- Characteristic of retaining at least some leaves through the fall and winter.

Fascicle- A cluster or bundle, usually referring to groups of needles in certain pines.

Flower- Reproductive structure of a plant.

Fruit- Seed bearing part of a plant.

Gymnosperm- Means 'naked seeds' and identifies trees usually known as softwoods or evergreens. Christmas trees are nearly always gymnosperms.

Habit- Shape or form of a plant.

Habitat- Location where a plant lives.

Hybrid- Cross between two plants, usually indicates between two species.

Leaf- Plant structure which is the primary location for photosynthesis. Long slender leaves are often referred to as needles.

Monecious- Plant with both sexes on the same individual.

Morphology- Dealing with form and structure.

Needles- Long, slender leaves typical of many gymnosperms.

Nomenclature- Naming of an organism.

Phloem- Conducting tissue for products of photosynthesis.

Pollination- Transfer of pollen from the male to the female.

Scale- Small , suppressed leaf as found in junipers, or the individual unit of a cone under which the seeds may be found.

Species- Taxonomic classification below genus. Also a group of individuals considered set apart form other species by consistent differences in morphology, ecology or reproductive behavior.

Sterigmata- Small, peg-like structures on which the individual needles of some species can be found.

Strobili- A reproductive structure of conifers and certain other plants. Consists of organs of one or both sexes. 'Strobilus' is the singular form of the word.

Taxonomic - Dealing with the description, classification and naming of organisms.

Variety- Taxonomic classification below the level of species, which indicates morphological or genetic differences.

Xylem- Conducting tissue of plants involved in transport of water and nutrients upward in the tree.

Return to Christmas Tree List

Prepared by Dr. Craig R. McKinley, North Carolina State University