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Botany: Glossary

A

angiosperms
flowering vascular plants
Annuals
plants that grow, flower, make seeds and die in one year
anther
the yellow part inside the flower at the top of a long, thin stalk that holds pollen grains

B

bacteria
tiny single-celled organisms found throughout the earth that may be helpful or harmful
Biennials
plants that need two years to complete their life cycles
botanists
a scientists who studies plants
Botany
the study of plants

C

carbon dioxide
a gas that humans and animals exhale, and plants take from the air to use in photosynthesis
carnivorous
living things that eat animals (meat)
cell walls
cell walls surround every plant cell, in order to protect and strengthen the plant and help keep bugs and diseases from attacking the plant
chemicals
substances of matter with a specific molecular structure
chlorophyll
the substance in leaves that gives plants their green color and absorbs the sun’s energy
chloroplasts
tiny structures inside plant cells that contain chlorophyll
conifers
trees that grow cones, like pines and firs
cotyledon
a leaf that is stored in a seed and is the first to emerge when the seed sprouts
cuticle
the protective, waxy covering on the outside of leaves and stems

D

defenses
actions or materials to protect against danger
drought
a period of time when water is very scarce

E

embryo
the baby plant within the seed
endosperm
short-term food supply used by the embryo to help it grow

F

fertilization
the joining of pollen with an ovule to form a seed
filament
the fine hair-like stalk that supports the anther
Flowers
the part of the plant that looks and smells nice, and contains the reproductive parts
food chains
how energy and nutrients are passed from creature to creature
fruit
the part of the plant we usually eat that has the seeds inside
fungus
living organisms such as mold and yeast, can cause disease in plants

G

germination
the process of a seed sprouting or coming to life
glucose
the food (sugar) the plant makes for itself during photosynthesis
Gravitropism
movement of plants in response to gravity
gravity
the natural attraction of objects to each other, specifically the attraction that keeps matter on the earth
Gymnosperms
non-flowering vascular plants

H

herbaceous
plants with flexible stems that are non-woody and die back to the ground each year

L

leaves
the green, food-making factory of the plant, usually flat to catch light and attached to a stem

N

nectar
sweet liquid made in the flower to attract pollinators
Nocturnal
an plant or animal that is most active at night
Nonvascular
plants without roots, stems or leaves, that use osmosis to move material through the plant, soaking up water in its
nutrients
substances needed for growth; plants get needed minerals such as potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus from the soil

O

osmosis
the process that causes a liquid such as water to pass through the membrane of a living cell
ovary
the part of the plant that has the seeds inside, usually at the base of the flower
ovules
the part inside the ovary that becomes the seed
oxygen
a gas found in the atmosphere that animals and humans breathe, produced by plants during photosynthesis

P

pathogens
a microorganism that can cause disease
Perennials
plants that live for a long time and come back every year after resting over the winter.
petals
the colorful, pretty parts of the flower
phloem
the cells of the plant that move food up or down the stem to other parts of the plant
photosynthesis
the process by which a plant produces its food using energy from sunlight, carbon dioxide from the air, and water from the soil
Phototropism
movement of plants toward light
pistil
the female part of the flower
Plants
living things that use photosynthesis to make their own food. If it’s alive, and it’s not an animal or a microbe, it’s probably a plant!
pollen
powder-like substance that covers the anthers and is necessary to make seeds, the material that bees collect
pollination
the moving of the pollen from the anther to the stigma
pollinator
an insect, bird, or bat that moves pollen from the anther to the stigma in a flower
pollinators
Animals, such as bees, butterflies, hummingbirds and bats, that move pollen from the anther to the stigma of a flower.
predators
living organisms that hunt and eat other organisms

R

receptacle
the part of the flower that the pistil and stamen grow out of
reproduction
the process of a living thing creating its young
roots
the underground part of the plant that supports the plant and brings in water and nutrients

S

seed coat
the protective outer layer of the seed
seeds
tiny future plants with food around them and a covering protecting them
sepals
covers the outside of a flower bud and protects the flower before it opens, looks a like little green leaves
spores
tiny structures found on ferns and mosses that move around in the wind and germinate when they land
stamen
the male part of the flower
stem
the main body of the plant that holds up the limbs, leaves, and flowers
stigma
the sticky bulb in the center of flowers where the pollen lands and starts the fertilization process (female part)
stimuli
an object or event that brings forth a behavioral response
stomata
small holes in leaves that carbon dioxide and oxygen pass through
style
the long stalk that supports the stigma (female part)

T

toxic
poisonous
tropism
movement in response to a stimulus

V

Vascular
plants with parts that move materials such as water through the plants
veins
tiny tubes that carry water and nutrients within the leaf

W

woody
stems that are hard and do not die back to the ground during the winter, such as tree trunks

X

xylem
cells that move water in plants
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