Acicular:  needle-shaped.
Adventitious root:  a root that originates from a stem instead of originating from other roots. Many cacti propagate themselves by sending forth adventitious roots from fallen stems.
Anther:  portion of the stamen located atop the filament. Anthers contain the pollen.
Anthesis:  the time period in which a flower is fully open.
Apiculate:  ending with a sharp tip.
Areole:  a pad-like area located on the cactus stem that produces hair, spines, glochids, flowers and/or new growth.
Axil:  the upper angle formed by a leaf/branch with a main stem. In cacti, the axils are located at the base of tubercles. Hairs, shoots, and flowers often originate from the axils especially in Mammillaria
Cactophile:  a person that loves cacti.
Caespitose, Cespitose:  clump-forming growth characteristic.
Calyx:  the whorl of leaves located on the outside of the flower's perianth.
Campanulate:  bell-shaped (flowers).
Cephalium:  a woolly swelling at the top or side of certain cactus species in which flower buds are formed. The cephalium may be brightly colored as in Melocacti.
Cholla:  plants of the Opuntia genus that have short, cylinder-shaped branches.
Cladode:  a flattened stem. In prickly pear cacti (Platyopuntia sp.), cladode is the proper term for one of the plant's pads.
Clavate:  resembling a club, club-shaped.
Columnar:  column-shaped.
Conic:  cone-shaped.
Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM):  process in cacti that produces sugars for the plant. At night, the plant takes in carbon dioxide and produces organic acids. During the day, these organic acids are broken down into sugars.
Cuticle:  a non-living waxy layer that covers the cactus stem and helps to reduce water loss.
Cylindric:  having the shape of a cylinder: round in cross-section.
Depressed:  flattened down, usually in reference to the top of a cactus stem.
Diurnal:  blooms during the day.
Epidermis:  the outer skin of a plant.
Epiphyte:  a plant that grows on another plant - the host - using the host for support only.
Family:  a plant classification group consisting of different, but somewhat related, Genera.
Fasciated:  having a crested or deformed growth habit.
Filament:  thread-like portion of the stamen that supports the anther.
Funnelform:  shaped like a funnel or trumpet (flowers).
Genus:  a plant classification unit consisting of related species. Plural: Genera.
Glabrous:  not hairy.
Globose:  shaped like a globe.
Glochids:  sharp, barbed, hairlike spines produced by plants in the Opuntia genus.
Hybrid:  plant resulting from cross breeding of two different species
Lanate:  possessing wooly hairs.
Monotypic:  a genus consisting of one species only. The Saguaro species, Carnegiea, is an example of a monotypic genus.
Monstrous:  an abnormal growth pattern. Growth originates from a many-centered point on the stem.
Nocturnal:  blooms during the night.
Obovate:  shaped like an egg with the narrow part below the broad part.
Offset:  a short branch of a plant that originates from the base of the plant.
Orbicular:  spherical or rounded.
Ovary:  the lowest portion of the pistil which contains ovules. After fertilization, the ovary develops into the fruit and the ovules develop into seed.
Ovate:  shaped like an egg with the broad part below the narrow part.
Ovule:  female sex cell of the ovary. When fertilized by the pollen will form an embryo (an eventual seed).
Pectinate:  comb-shaped (spines).
Perianth:  the colorful outside portion of the flower consisting of the sepals and petals.
Petals:  inner portion of the flower perianth. Petals are the showy, colorful part of the flower.
Photosynthesis:  the plant process where carbon dioxide and water are converted into carbohydrates. Energy for this process is provided by the sun.
Pistil:  the female portion of the flower consisting of the ovary, stigma, and style.
Pollen:  dust-like body produced by the anther which houses the male sex cell of the flower.
Porrect:  extending in a horizontal direction.
Prostrate:  lying on the ground.
Pubescent:  covered with fine, soft hairs.
Ribs:  ridges that form the outside edges of certain cacti. Ribs are often expandable to accommodate the storage of water.
Rosette:  a circular cluster of leaves which radiate from a central stem.
Scion:  in a cactus graft, the unrooted portion of a plant usually attached to the top portion of the stock.
Self-fertile:  capable of developing seeds using its own pollen.
Self-sterile:  incapable of developing seeds using its own pollen.
Sepal:  an individual leaf of the calyx, the outer whorl of the perianth. Usually green.
Sessile:  having no stalk (flowers).
Setose:  consisting of bristles.
Spatulate:  shaped like a spatula - flat with straight sides and a round end
Species:  a group of very similar plants. Species are grouped together into Genera.
Stamen:  the male portion of the flower consisting of the anther and filament. Stamens produce pollen.
Stigma:  the top-most portion of the pistil which acts as a pollen receptor for the flower.
Stock:  in a cactus graft, the rooted portion of the plant to which the scion is attached.
Stolon:  a horizontal stem usually found below the ground that produces a new plant at its tip.
Stomata:  openings in the cactus skin that allow gases (i.e. carbon dioxide, water vapor) to pass in and out of the plant for photosynthesis.
Style:  a tube-like portion of the pistil that connects the stigma to the ovary.
Synonym:  a name applied to a plant already validly named.
Terete:  cylindrical in cross-section and usually tapering (spines, joints).
Tubercle:  a small cone-shaped protuberance from which the areoles originate on, most notably, Mammillaria and Coryphantha species.
Tuberculate:  covered with tubercles.
Umbilicate:  depressed in the center.
Xerophyte:  a drought resistant plant.


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