Glossary of Botanical Terms


- small, dry, indehiscent 1-seeded fruit in which the ovary wall is free from the seed.
Acuminate - tapering to a point.
Ade - fruit drink. Squeeze out the juice of the fruit, adding water and sugar to taste.
Aglycone - The non-sugar component, together with a sugar, formed upon hydrolysis of a glycoside.
Alloxan - The most commonly employed agent for the induction of experimental diabetic models of human insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. It is a urea derivative that causes selective necrosis of the pancreatic ß-cells and used to produce experimental diabetes in animals such as rabbits, rats, mice and dogs.
Alterative - Producing healthful changes without perceptible evacuation.
Angiogenesis - Neovascularization, a complex process that involves activation, adhesion, proliferation and transmigration of endothelial cells, forming new blood vessels from preexisting blood vessels that plays a crucial role wound healing and in pathologic processes such as diabetic retinopathy, arthritis and growth of solid tumors.

Anthelminthic - An agent which expels worms.
Anodyne - Relieves pain.
Anther - top of the stamen, which holds the pollen.
Antibilous - acts on the bile, relieving biliousness.
Antiemetic - Stops vomiting.
Antihilitic - Prevents the formation of calculi in the urinary tract.
Antioxidant - Antioxidants are chemical substances that donate an electron to the free radical and convert it to a harmless molecule.
Antiperiodic - Arrests morbid periodical movements.
Antipileptic - Relieves fits.
Antirheumatic - Relieves or cures rheumatism.
Antiscorbutic - Relieves or cures scurvy.
Antiseptic - Opposed to putrefaction.
Antispasmodic - Relieves or prevents spasms.
Antisyphilitic - Prevents or cures venereal disease.
Aperient - Gently laxative, without purging.
Aromatic - emits a fragrant odo; aromatic, spicy.
Astringent - causing soft body parts to contract, reducing blood flow.
Axil - angle between a branch or a leaf and the axis from which it arises.
Axillary - growing from the axil.
Balneotherapy -
the treatment of disease by bathing in mineral springs.
- group of organisms with similar hereditary characteristics.
Bipinnate - double pinnate leaf.
Blanch - dip the plant in either hot or boiling water once or twice.
Bract- leaf from the axil of which a flower arises.
Brine Shrimp Lethality Assay (BSLA) - An internationally accepted test for detecting antitumor potential of a drug. It is used as screening tool for the determination of bioactivity of different extracts, fractions and pure compounds. This test is an indication of cytotoxicity, anticancer, antiviral, pesticidal, antimicrobial and other different pharmacological activities. It is a rapid, inexpensive and simple bioassay for testing plant extracts bioactivity which in most cases correlates reasonably well with cytotoxic and antitumor properties. The assay is considered to be a very useful tool for preliminary assessment of toxicity and it has been used for the detection of fungal toxins, toxicity of plant extracts, heavy metals, and cytotoxicity testing of dental materials.
Bruise - lamug; to reduce the plant part to a pulpy mass by either pounding with a blunt instrument or by crushing between the fingers.
Bulbil - aerial deciduous bulb produced in a leaf axil.
Calyx - outermost envelope of the flower, consisting of a number of sepals.
Campanulate - bell-shaped.
Capsule - dry fruit of two or more carpels, dehiscent bivalves.
Carminative - expels gas from the alimentary tract.
Carpel - unit structure of a compound pistil.
Cataplasm - plaster or poultice.
Caudex- Caudiciform plants is a large group of plant that form caudex—a fat stem or root. The caudex is usually prominent, giving the plant a unique and unusual character.
- Used in diseases of the head.
Cholagogue - Increases the flow of bile.
Clastogenic - an agent or process giving rise to or inducing disruption or breakages, as of chromosomes.
Condiment - Improves the flavor of food.
Connivent - coming into contact; converging but not fused together.
Coppice - grove of shrubs originating from sprouts or root suckers.
Corm - A bulb-like underground structure of the enlarged fleshy base of the stem.
Corolla - petals of a flower.
Corymb -a flat-top raceme in which the pedicels of the lower flower are longer than those of the upper ones.
Cyme - a flat or convex, open, compound flower cluster, the inner flowers opening first.
Cytolides - Naturalized cyclized proteins with potent cytotoxic activity.
Cytotoxic - Toxic to cells, cell-killing, i.e, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
Deciduous - falling off; applied to trees that shed all their leaves at a particular season.
Decoction - solution representing the water-soluble constituents of a plant drug, prepared by boiling the plant drug in water for 15 minutes. The usual decoction is 5 percent. Observe the same precautions as infusion preparation.
Deflexed - bend outward or backward.
Demulcent - Soothing; relieves inflammation.
Deobstruent - Removes obstructions.
Depurative - Purifies the blood.
Diaphoreticd - Produces perspiration.
Digestive - Pertaining to digestion; digestant.
Discoid - disc-shaped.
Discutient - Dissolves and removes tumors.
Diuretic - Increases the secretion and flow of urine.
Dysentery - inflammation of the large intestine with evacuation of liquid, bloody stool, and the urge to evacuate without result.
Elliptic - oval with narrowed to rounded ends.
Embryotoxic - Harmful to an embryo.
Emetic -Produces vomiting.
Emmenagogue - Produces menstruation.
Emollient - Softening and soothing to inflammed parts.
Endocarp - inner layer of the flesh of a fruit when it consists of two or more layers of different texture or consistency.
Enfleurage - a process of making perfumes in which fats are made to absorb the fragrance of fresh flowers.
Entire margin - continuous leaf margin, smooth leaf edge.
Epipetalous - stamens attached to the corolla.
Esculent - Edible; eatable as food.
Exanthematous - Remedy for skin eruptions and diseases.
Expectorant - Facilitates expectoration.
Express - squeeze out.
Extract - concentrated preparation made buy macerating or percolating with solvent.
Febrifuge - Remedy for fever; reduces fever.
Fetotoxic - Toxic to the fetus.
Filament - threadlike part of stamen that bears the anther.
Filiform - Thread-like.
Flavonoids - Flavonoids are a class of natural products with a C6-C3-C6 skeleton widely distributed in the plant kingdom. They have been reported to be the major bioactive constituents of medicinal herbs because of their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic activities [S].
Follicle - fruit developed from a single carpel, opening when mature by natural sutures.
-fundamental constitution in terms of hereditary factors.
Glabrous - smooth in the sense of having no hairs.
Glaucous - Covered with a whitish or bluish powdery bloom.
Globose - spherical, having the shape of a globe.
Glycoproteins - Glycoproteins are carbohydrate linked protein macromolecules found in the cell surface, which form the principal component of animal cells. Hexose, hexosamine, and sialic acid are the basic components of the glycoproteins. They play an important role in membrane transport, cell differentiation and recognition, the adhesion of macromolecules to the cell surface, and the secretion and absorption of macromolecules (Mittal et al. 1996). Impaired metabolism of glycoproteins plays a major role in the pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus (Knecht et al. 1990).
Glycoside - A compound that contains sugar, so named for the sugar contained: glucoside (glucose), pentoside (pentose), fructoside (fructose).
a-Glycosidase Inhibitors - Α- Glucosidase inhibitors are among the available glucose lowering medications. This enzyme is located in the brush border of the small intestine and is required for the breakdown of carbohydrates to absorbable monosaccharide. The α- Glucosidase inhibitors delay but do not prevent the absorption of ingested carbohydrates but reducing the postprandial glucose and insulin peak. (
Hemostatic - Agent that arrests the flow of blood.
- Remedy for diseases of the liver.
- mixture of water and alcohol, usually of a solvent for extraction.
Indehiscent - seed-bearing plant part (fruit) that does not open by valves or along regular lines upon maturity.
Inflorescence - flower head of a plant, cluster of flowers growing together on a stalk.
Infusion - aequous preparation of plant parts in either cold or boilig water, the amount of the plant part differing with each plant. The usual infusion is 5 percent. To prepare the infusion, break the plant parts into small pieces before soaking them in either cold or boiling water in an eartheware container (palayok). Do not use metal of plastic containers. Allow to soak for 30 minutes, then strain.
Insecticide - Any substance poisonous to insects.
Insectifuge - A preparation which repels insects..
- lance-shaped.
Latex - milky juice produced by certain plants.
Laxative - Promotes bowel movements.
Lectins - Proteins or glycoproteins from plants, fungi, viruses, or bacteria capable of provoking agglutination of cells, esp RBCs; used for diagnosing microorganisms, blood typing or examiination of cell surface carbohydrates.
Lenticel - A breathing pore in the stem and bark of trees and shrubs.
Liniment - a solution of a drug for rubbing on the skin as a counterirritant.
Lithotryptic - Dissolves calculi in the urinary organs.
Macerate - to soften / extract by steeping in a fluid such as oil or alcohol.
Mangrove - Plants (trees, shrubs or plants) or plant communities between the sea and the and in areas. They usually grown in tropical coastal swamsp that are flooded at high tide. They have numerous tangled roots avove ground and form dense thickets.
Marcotting - asexual method of reproduction in plants: fibrous medium, e.g., coconut husk, is wrapped around a node of woody stem to encourage roots to develop and produce a new / daughter plant.
Maturating - Ripens or brings boils, tumors, and ulcers to a head.
Mitogenic - Causing mitosis or transformation.
Monoecious - With stamens and pistils in separate flowers; having both male and female reproductive organs.
Mordant - a substance, typically an inorganic oxide, that combines with a dye or stain and thereby fixes it in a material.
Mucilage - Viscous secretion or bodily fluid. Mucilages are polysaccharide molecules that dissolve more or less upon contact with water, forming colloidal solutions. They have various pharmaceutical applications in the formulation of solid and liquid dosage forms as thickeners, water retention agents, emulsion stabilizers, suspending agents, binders and film formers. (More)
Mucilaginous - Soothing to inflammed parts.
Mucronate - Ending abruptly in a sharp tip or spine.
Mutagenic - Capable of causing mutation (xrays, chemical pollution, drugs)
Nauseant - Produces vomiting.
Nervine - Acting on the nervous system; allays nervous excitement.
Nootropic - Of a drug, used to enhance memory or other cognitive functions.
Ointment - semisolid preparation in water-soluble base.
Ophthalmicum -A remedy for disease of the eye.
Panicle - elongated inflorescence with a central axis divided into several branches, each bearing several flowers.
Parenchyma - thin-walled living cells in which plant secretions are stored.
Parturient - Induces and promotes labor at childbirth.
Pectoral - Remedy for affections of the chest..
Pedicel - stalk of a solitary flower, or a flower in a cluster.
Peduncle -stalk supporting an inflorescence.
Pendulous - hanging freely or loosely.
Perianth - The calyx and corolla of the outer part of the flower.
Pericarp - body of the fruit developed from the ovary and enclosing the seeds.
Periderm - outer layer of root or stem
Petiole - leaf stalk.
Phytophotodermatitis - PPD, a cutaneous phototoxic inflammatory eruption from contact with light-sensitizing botanical substances and UV radiation.
Pinnate - leaf resembling a feather.
Pinnatifid - pinnately divided into segments nearly to the midrib.
Pistil - female element of a flower, consisting of ovary, stigma, and often style.
Plant drug - medicinal plant part, as collected from mother plant; may refer to both fresh or dried material; crude drug.
Pod - dry- usually dehiscent, few to may-seeded fruit.
Poultice - soft, usually heated preparation spread on cloth applied to a sore or swelling.
Probiotic - Live organisms which in adequate amounts may confer a health benefit to the host.
Propagate - any plant part used in asexual reproduction of lower plants.
Pulvinus - swollen place at leaf or leaflet base.
Pungent - Sharp or biting; somewhat acrid.
Purgative - substance that causes evacuation of the bowels.
Quorum sensing -
Bacterial intercellular communication that controls the pathogenesis of organisms. Anti-quorum sensing compounds are known to exist in marine algae with an ability to attenuate bacterial pathogenicity.
Raceme - simple flower head in which the elongated axis bears a number of flowers with short stems of nearly equal length.
Rachis - elongated axis of an inflorescence; a grass bearing flower stalks at short intervals.
Refrigerant - Cooling.
Resolvent - Dissolves and removes tumors.
Retention enema - Administer one cupful (125 mL) of either infusion or decoction into the rectum as enema and retain for 15 minutes before expelling.
Retuse - Having a blunt apex with a central notch.
Revulsive - Effecting revulsion (drawing of blood from one part to another, as in counter- irritation.
Rhizome - Underground stem.
Rubifacient - Increases circulation, produces red skin.
Ruminated - appears as if chewed upon.
Salep - A starchy preparation of the dried tubers of various orchids, used as a thickener in cooking; or an ingredient in medicines and tonics.
Samara - A one seeded winged nut or achene.
- leafless flower stalk growing directly from the ground.
Scarious - dry, membranous in texture.
Sedative - Tonic on nerves; quieting.
Sepal - segment of the calyx.
Serrate - leaf margin cut into sharp teeth pointing forward.
Sessile - Stalkless.
Sialagogue - Increases the secretion of saliva.
SLK - acronym for cough syrup made of tamarind leaves (sampaloc), ginger (luya) and lime juice (kalamansi).
Sessile - without stalk of any kind.
Smudge - burn plant part, extinguish the flame to produce a thick smoke.
Sorus - Sori (pl) - A cluster of spore-producing receptacles (sporangia) on the underside of a fern frond.
Spadix - An inflorescence of many tiny flowers arranged around a fleshy column enclosed in a spathe.
Spathe - A single large bract enclosing a flower cluster.
Stamen - male element of a flower, consisting usually of anther and filament.
Staminode - sterile stamen.
Stigma - part of pistil that receives the pollen grains.
Stomachic - Agent that strengthens or stimulates the stomach.
Style - elongated tube of the pistil through which pollen grains enter from the stigma to the ovary.
Styptic - Arrests hemorrhage and bleeding.
Succulent - having juicy tissues.
Sudorific - Produces profuse perspiration.
Syrup - liquid preparation in concentrated sugar solution.
Tannin - Tannin is a general descriptive name for a group of polymeric phenolic substances capable of tanning leather, or precipitating gelatin from solution, a property known as astringency. According to Scalbert, tannin can be toxic to filamentous fungi, yeast and bacteria. Condensed tannins have been determined to bind cell walls of ruminal bacteria. (source)
Tegmen - the delicate inner protective layer of a seed.

Terpenoids - Secondary metabolites with molecular structures containing carbone backbones made up of isoprene units.
Thermogenesis - the production of heat; specifically, the physiologic process of heat production in the body.
- dense growth of shrubs or underbrush.
Tincture - alcoholic or hydroalcoholic preparation of the plant part, usually 10 percent. Rubbing alcohol may be used for tincture for external use.
Tocopherol - Fat soluble alcohols with antioxidant properties, found in wheat germ oil, egg yolk and leafy vegetables, collectively constituting Vitamin E. Most are destroyed during the refining of vegetable oils.
Tonic - Troduces healthy muscular condition and reaction; remedy that is invigoration and strengthening.
Turgid - swollen
Turgor - normal distention and resiliency of cells.
Umbel - type of inflorescence in which the various pedicels spring from the same point and reach almost the same height; umbrella shaped.
Vermifuge - Expels worms.
Vermicide - Antihelminthic or medicine destructive to intestinal animal parasites.
Vulnerary - Agent which heals wounds.
Waste place - uncultivated, ruined, or devastated land / area.
Whorl - three or more structures at a node, as leaves, branches, or floral parts.
Xanthones - Plant derived nutrients or phytonutrients with antioxidant activity.

Xanthine Oxidase- XO (xanthine oxidase) is the key enzyme that catalyzes the last step in the conversion of purines to uric acid, and plays a vital role in the production of hyperuricemia and gout. Allopurinol, a medication for gout prevention, is a XO inhibitor.

Last Update July 2016