Glossary of Tree Terms
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.
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Prepared by Dr. Craig R. McKinley, North Carolina State University