achene – n. any small, dry fruit with one seed whose outer covering (pericarp) does not burst when ripe. Example: sunflower seed.
algae – n. a wide variety of tiny, often microscopic, plants (or plant-like organisms) that live both in water and on land. alga – singular. More information.
anatomy – n. the internal structure of an organism and/or its parts.
angiospermae – n. a major division of the plant kingdom, commonly known as flowering plants; their reproductive organs develop seeds in the flowers. Example: duck potato. angiosperms - plural
aquarium – a tank or pool filled with water for the purpose of keeping live fish and other underwater animals and/or plants.
aquatic – Living or growing in, on, or near the water.
aquatic macrophytes – aquatic plants that are large enough to be apparent to the naked eye. They can be grouped into four basic categories. Some are rooted in the bottom sediments but protrude above the water's surface (emersed) while others float on the water's surface (floating and floating-leaved). Still others grow completely below the water's surface (submersed).
aquatic plants – plants that grow in water or wet areas; plants that must complete part or all of their life cycle in or near the water. The general term "aquatic plants" usually refers to aquatic macrophytes, but it may be used to refer to both macrophytes and algae. More information.
ascending (plant habit) – adj. growing upward, inclined. See illustration.
atmosphere – the whole mass of air surrounding the earth.
axil – n. the angle found between any two organs or structures, as between a stem and leaf.
axillary – adj. in an axil, growing in an axil, as buds.
bacteria – n. microscopic single-celled organisms; the simplest and oldest form of life, found in almost every environment on the Earth’s surface. A gram of soil contains about 2.5 billion bacteria. (singular form: bacterium)
bark – n. the outermost covering of trees and some plants. This is composed of the cuticle or epidermis, the outer bark or cortex, and the inner bark or fiber. See illustration.
biological control – n. is the use of insects, fish, diseases, and other biological agents to weaken or cause stress to an unwanted invasive plant species. Biological control agents usually are host specific; they feed on that one species of plant only. More information.
biological productivity – n. the ability of a waterbody (or habitat) to support plants, fish and wildlife. More information.
bipinnately compound (leaf arrangement) - consists of two pinnately compund leaves attached opposite to the same leaf stalk. Also, each pinnately compound leaf consists of two rows of leaflets; arranged one on either side of the leaf stalk. See illustration.
bisexual – adj. an individual flower with both male and female parts.
blade – n. the leaf of a plant, especially grass; the flat or expanded portion of a leaf; lamina. See illustration.
bract – n. a modified leaf, growing at the base or on the stalk of a flower; usually differs from other leaves in shape or color. If bright colored, it helps attract pollinators. See illustration .
branchlet – n. a small usually terminal branch.
bud – n. an undeveloped leaf or flower (or both) of a plant. See illustration.
bulb – n. a specialized underground bud that sends down roots and consists of a very short stem covered with leafy scales or layers which store water and nutrients. Not a corm, rhizome or tuber. See illustration.
cambium – n. in woody plants, the layer of tissue between the bark and wood that produces new cells.
carbon dioxide (CO2) – a chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms bonded to a single carbon atom; a heavy colorless gas. It is formed as the result of human and animal respiration and also in the decay or burning of animal or vegetable matter.
career – n. a profession for which one trains.
cellulose – n. the chief substance found in the cell walls or woody part of plants; which contributes to their stiffness.
channeled – adj. having a deep longitudinal groove.
chemical control – the use of specially formulated herbicides (registered with the U.S. EPA) to kill or control plants.
chemical process – n. a method or means of somehow changing one or more chemicals or chemical compounds.
clasping (leaf attachment) – adj. leaf partially encircles the stem. Example: West Indian marsh grass.
climate – n. the average condition of the weather at a place, usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation.
climbing (plant habit) - adj. growing upward in a winding fashion. See illustration.
competition (among plants) – n. an interaction between two species which can result in a disadvantage to one or both of the species. For example, when an exotic plant is introduced to a habitat outside its normal range, it often competes with native plant species for nutrients, space, sunlight, water, etc. If the exotic plant doesn't have to worry about other "controlling" factors such as hungry insects, bacteria, viruses, it could take over and crowd the native plant species out of the area. For more information, visit exotic plants. For more information, visit native plants.
compound – adj. composed of two or more similar and united parts (as a leaf with 2 or more leaflets).
cotyledon – n. the first leaf or leaves of a seed plant, found in the embryo of the seed; may form the first photosynthetic leaves or may remain below ground. Also called seed leaf or leaves.
creeping (plant habit) – adj. growing by spreading out and staying close to the ground. See illustration.
crenate (leaf margin) – adj. having a notched, indented, or scalloped edge. See illustration.
culm – n. the stalk or stem for grasses and sedges and related plants, usually jointed and hollow. See illustration.
deciduous – adj. that which falls down; losing foliage with change of seasons.
decomposition – n. the breakdown of dead organic material by microorganisms into simpler compounds. More information.
diffuse – v. to spread freely (extend, scatter)
dioecious – adj. male and female flowers on separate plants.
dissolved oxygen – n. a form of oxygen gas (O2) that is constantly entering water from two main sources: the atmosphere and photosynthesis (plants); an indicator of water quality. More information.
drainage ditch – a ditch constructed near farm fields, parking lots, roads, or real estate developments to allow rain or storm water to drain quickly.
drupe – n. a fleshy or pulpy fruit with the inner portion of the pericap hard or stony and enclosing the seed.
ecology – n. branch of science concerned with the interrelationships of organisms and their environments especially as manifested by natural cycles and rhythms, community development and structure, geographic distributions and population alteration.
ecosystem – n. a community of living organisms (plants, animals, microorganisms, etc.) all of which interact among themselves and the environment where they live, on land, in the soil or in the water, etc. An integrated unit of a biological community, its physical environment and interactions. An ecosystem can be as small as a mud puddle or as large as a continent or even planet earth itself.
elliptic (leaf shape) – adj. having the form of an oval or ellipsis; widest in the middle, similar to the outline of a football. See illustration.
emergent plants – same as emersed.
environment – n. the circumstances, objects, or conditions by which one is surrounded. All components of the earth, including air, land, and water; all layers of the atmosphere.
erect (plant habit) – adj. vertical; upright standing. See illustration.
Eutrophic (waterbody) – adj. contains high concentrations of nutrients; the waterbody will either have lots of aquatic plants and clear water or it will have few aquatic plants and lots of algae (less clear water). Has the potential to support lots of fish and wildlife. More information.
eutrophication – adj. contains high concentrations of nutrients; the eaterbody will either have lots of aquatic plants and clear water or it will have few aquatic plants and lots of algae (less clear water). Has the potential to support lots of fish and wildlife. More information.
fish kill – n. A fish kill is an event in which dead fish are observed. Fish kills are usually caused by depletion of oxygen in shallow water.
floating-leaved plant – n. a plant that may or may not be anchored to the sediment, but has leaves that float on the surface of the water. Example: waterlilies, spatterdock, and the American lotus. More information.
food web – n. feeding relationships between plants and animals in an area or ecosystem.
glabrous – adj. without hairs
gland – n. a depression that secretes a substance (from a plant surface).
glaucous – adj. bluish green; covered with a pale green bloom.
globose – adj. rounded; almost spherical; globular.
grass-like – mostly herbaceous flowering plants with jointed stems, slender sheathing leaves; plants that look similar to grasses but contain members of the sedge or rush family.
habit – n. (L. habitus, condition, appearance, dress) the characteristic appearance of a plant and its stems/leaves (including size, shape, color, pattern of growth etc.). Example: tall, erect, spreading, etc.
habitat – n. the locality or external environment in which a plant lives. See illustration.
herb – n. any seed plant whose stem withers away to the ground after each season's growth; a seed plant with a green, non-woody stem. Example: lyre-leaf sage.
herbaceous plants – adj. soft, grassy, non- woody plants that according to season (autumn) lose their above-ground growth but leave intact roots and produce new growth in the new season (spring).
herbicide – n. a chemical that kills plants or inhibits their growth; intended for weed control. More information.
herbivore – n. an animal that eats only plant material. This group includes many insects (aphids, wasps, etc.) and mammals (rabbits, mice, deer, squirrels, elephants, etc.).
hydrosoil – submerged soils developed in anaerobic conditions; often dark in color.
hypereutrophic waterbody – adj. contains very high concentration of nutrients; supports large amounts of algae and/or plants, fish and wildlife; water is murky. More information.
hybrid – n. any cross-bred plant.
indigenous – adj. native; originating or occurring naturally in a specific area. Example: cattails are indigenous to Florida. More information.
integrated control – a combination of all available plant control methods into a strategy compatible with the use and current conditions of a waterbody.
internode – n. the portion of a stem between nodes. See illustration.
interspecific competition – competition among different species for nutrients, space, light, etc.
intraspecific competition – when an individual plant competes with one or more members of the same species for nutrients, space, light, etc.
introduced – moved by humans.
invasive species – A non-native species (to an ecosystem) that is causing or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
invasive plant – a non-native plant species that is able to spread on its own, causing environmental or economic harm. More information.
invasive species – a non-native species to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
lacerate (leaf margin) – adj. with an irregularly torn margin. See illustration.
lake – n. a large inland body of fresh water, (formed naturally by sink holes, rivers, glaciers, etc.); larger than a pool or pond. More information.
lanceolate (leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a lance; broadest toward the base and narrowedat the tip; several times longer than wide. See illustration.
leaf – n. part of a plant; an outgrowth from the stem, usually flat in structure and green in color. The part of the plant where most of the transpiration and photosynthesis processes occur. See illustration.
leaflet – n. individual blades found in a compound leaf.
leaf arrangement – refers to the various ways plants will have their leaves positioned on the stalk; they are commonly in pairs, opposite one another on the stem, or they are produced singly in an alternate arrangement.
leaf attachment – the way leaves are attached to the stem of plant.
leaf margin – the edge or border of a leaf; whether it is smooth, toothed, wavy, etc; it is a helpful feature in plant identification.
leaf shape – any of the various shapes that the blades (leaves) of plants can assume.
leaf tip – the point on a leaf furthest from the stem.
legume – n. bearing seeds along the ventral surface; a leguminous plant.
ligule – n. thin, membranous extension of the leaf sheath on the upper surface of the leaf; may be hairy or bristly, hard or soft. Example: vasey grass.
limnology – n. the scientific study of physical, chemical, meteorological, and biological conditions of inland waterbodies. More information.
linear (leaf shape) - adj. long and slender with parallel or nearly parallel sides. See illustration.
margin – n. boundary line; the edge (ex. of a leaf). See illustration.
macrophyte – n. see aquatic macrophyte.
maintenance control – controlling exotic weeds on a continuous basis, using a variety of techniques (biological, chemical, mechanical), so troublesome plants can be kept at the lowest feasible levels. More information.
management plan - A plan guiding the overall management of an area, often administered by a federal or state agency or citizens. It usually includes objectives, goals, standards and guidelines, management actions, and monitoring plans.
marginal – adj. on the boundary line; on the edge (of a leaf).
midrib – n. central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaflet. See illustration.
native plant – a plant species that occurs naturally within a geographic region or area. In Florida, the phrase “native plant” refers to those species that were here prior to European contact (also referred to as an indigenous plant). It has not been introduced by humans, intentionally or unintentionally.
natural areas – lands that have not been developed for agriculture, business, or housing; they are preserved due to unique scenic, historic, geologic or ecological value.
naturalize – v. to adapt to a non-native environment; when a species of foreign origin, established itself and reproduces (outside cultivation) as though it is native.
naturalized exotic – an exotic plant that sustains itself outside of cultivation. (Note: this does not mean that it has "become" native).
non-native, nonindigenous – from "another area" (i.e. red fox)
non-native plant – a plant species that is present in a region outside its original, historic range due to intentional or unintentional introduction; not necessarily invasive. Also referred to as non-indigenous or exotic. The introduction of the plant to a new area is often the result of human activity. More information.
oblanceolate (leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a lance point reversed; having the tapering point next to the leafstalk. See illustration.
oblong (leaf shape) – adj. elliptical, slightly rectangular and from two to four times longer than it is broad. See illustration.
obovate (leaf shape) – adj. inversely ovate; roughly the shape of an egg, with the broad end at the top. See illustration.
oligotriphic (waterbody) – adj. water that contains very low concentrations of nutrients. Biologically less productive; supporting small amounts of algae, few plants and fish. Water is clear. More information.
orbicular (leaf shape) – adj. almost circular or shield-shaped. See illustration
ovate (leaf shape) – adj. egg-shaped and with the broader end towards the base. See illustration.
ovoid – adj. egg-shaped.
ovule – n. part of a seed plant that develops into a seed after fertilization; it contains the megasporangium (nucellus), megaspore (embryo sac), a food store, and a coat.
oxygen – n.A colorless gas that makes up 21% of the atmosphere. It is essential for animal (including human) respiration.
panicle – n. (a tuft of plants) a branched racemose inflorescence often applied more widely to any branched inflorescence.
parts per million (ppm) – A way of expressing very dilute (small) concentrations of substances; PPM means “out of a million;” usually describes the concentration of something in water or soil.
pathogen – n. an organism that causes disease in another organism; usually a virus, bacterium or fungus. More information.
perennial – adj. a plant that grows for 3 or more years and usually flowers each year.
perfect (flower) – adj. with both male and female parts; bisexual.
petal – n. the colored parts of the corolla (most of the time), usually arranged in a circle; most visible part of the flower. See illustration.
petiolate (leaf attachment) – petiole (leaf stalk) is present. See illustration.
phloem – n. the tissue forming part of a plant's vascular system; used by the plant to transport carbohydrates and other organic (food) materials from the leaves to the rest of the plant.
photosynthesis – n. a chemical process that takes place in virtually all plants including aquatic plants and algae (and many forms of bacteria). Using three simple ingredients (carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight), plants and bacteria are able to make their own food. More information.
physical control – the use of hand-pulling techniques, drawdowns (water removal), flooding, burning, dredging and shading to control invasive plants.
pinna – n. a leaflet or a primary division of a compound leaf (L. pinna, feather). Pinnae (or pinnas) – plural of pinna.
plant – n. a major group of living beings that typically lack locomotive movement or obvious sensory organs, and are generally capable of making their own food. This group includes at least 300,000 species including aquatic macrophytes, some planktonic algae, ferns, flowers, grasses, herbs, trees, etc.
pollen – n. a fine powder-like material (grain) that is produced within the anther (in seed plants); these grains carry the male DNA of the plant.
pond – n. a body of standing water smaller than a lake, often artificially formed. More information.
primary production – refers to growth produced by organisms at the bottom of the food chain (plants, algae, etc.) which, in turn, fuels the rest of the food chain.
productivity – n. amount of production over a given period of time. Expressed as a rate such as g/m2 per day, kg/ha per year, etc. See biological productivity.
propagulum or propagule – n. a runner or sucker used in the asexual reproduction and dispersal of plants. (propagula or propagules – plural).
raceme – n. an inflorescence with many flowers arranged along an axis.
reniform (leaf shape) – adj. having the shape of a kidney. See illustration.
respiration – n. The act or process by which an organism without lungs, such as a fish or plant, exchanges gases with its environment; the act or process of inhaling and exhaling; breathing.
retention pond – a manmade pond where stormwater is directed and held.
river –a large natural stream of water; larger than a creek.
rhizome – n. a subterranean horizontal root-like stem sending out leaves and shoots from its upper surface and roots from its lower surface. See illustration.
root – n. the part of a plant, usually below ground, that holds the plant in position, draws water and nutrients from the soil, stores food, and is typically non-green, without buds or leaves. See illustration.
runner – n. a slender creeping stem that puts forth roots from nodes, spaced at intervals along its length. New plants eventually grow from the nodes and can become detached from the parent plant. Example: St. Augustine grass.
sedimentation – n. the act or process of deposition of decomposed organic material on the bottom of a waterbody, often called muck. More information.
Secchi disk – a small black and white disk used to measure water clarity. More information.
seed – n. the part of a flowering plant that contains the embryo and will develop into a new plant if sown; a fertilized and mature ovule.
sepal – n. any of the leaf divisions of the calyx; part of the outer floral leaves, usually green. See illustration.
serrate (leaf margin) – adj. having sharp notches along the edge pointing toward the apex. Called double serrate if small serratures intermingle with big, as in the elm. See illustration, images of serrate leaf and double serrate leaf.
shoot – n. a young branch/leaf that shoots out from the main stock.
simple (leaf) – adj. a single blade.
spatulate (leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a spatula or spoon, gradually widening distally and with a rounded tip. See illustration.
species – n. a group of successfully interbreeding individuals.
spikelet – n. a subdivision of a spike; the parts that contain the flowers of the plant; often have scales and/or bristles. See illustration.
spore – n. any of various small reproductive bodies, often consisting of a single cell, produced asexually or by the union of gametes (as in mosses, ferns, etc.).
sprawling (leaf habit) – adj. spread out in different directions. See illustration.
spring – a place where the underground aquifer surface meets the ground surface; where groundwater flows out of the ground.
stem – n. the main axis of a plant, typically above the soil surface; generally supports the leaves. See illustration.
stoma – n. one of the minute openings in the epidermis of leaves, stems, and other plant organs through which gases are exchanged between the atmosphere and the intercellular spaces. stomata – plural.
submerge – v. to sink or plunge beneath the surface of water.
submersed plants – plants growing with their root, stems, and leaves completely under the surface of the water. Sometimes the leaves and/or flowers may grow above the surface. Example: vallisneria. More information.
swamp – n. low ground filled with water; a wooded area having surface water much of the time. More information.
tannins – n. tea colored organic dissolved compounds that originate from many types of terrestrial and aquatic plants; can affect the color of a waterbody.
taxonomy – n. the scientific classification of organisms, based on natural relationships. More information.
terrestrial (plant) – adj. a plant that is living or grown on land; not aquatic.
trailing – adj. plants laying flat on the ground, on the surface, or on other vegetation.
transplant – from same country (i.e. red eared slider)
trophic state – n. category used to classify a lake or waterbody based on its biological productivity; usually determined using four water chemistry parameters: chlorophyll, total nitrogen, total phosphorus and water clarity. More information.
tuber – n. the short, thickened, fleshy, food-storing portion of an underground stem with many surface buds; shaped like a tiny potato. See illustration.
turion – n. a young scaly shoot budded off from underground stems; detachable winter bud used for perennation (the process of living through a number of years) in many aquatic plants. See illustration.
tussock – n. a drifting mass of peat, mud and plants; often referred to as a “floating island.” More information.
twice compound – adj. leaflets that are again divided into leaflets.
twining – adj. winding around an object or another plant.
undulate (leaf margin) – adj. having a wavy edge. See illustration.
vascular – adj. containing a system for carrying or circulating fluids, such as sap and/or water, through the body of a plant.
vegetative propagation – reproduction of plants using a nonsexual process involving stems, leaves and parts of the mother plant; the process does not involve production of seeds or spores.
volunteer – n. a person who voluntarily undertakes or provides a service; someone who works for free for a community.
water clarity – a measure of how far you can see into the water; its visible depth. More information.
water monitoring – regular observation and assessment of the state of natural waters; collecting, managing and delivering data on the quantity and quality of water found in a waterbody (creek, lake, river, stream, ocean, etc.)
water temperature – the degree of hotness or coldness of water. Water temperature is an important factor for aquatic life. It affects metabolic rate of aquatic organisms that live in water and the activity level of bacteria. It also influences dissolved oxygen concentrations in water (e.g., colder water has higher dissolved oxygen levels). Air temperature and radiant energy from the sun have the greatest influence on water temperature.
weed – n. any plant that crowds out a cultivated and desired plant.
wet weight – n. the weight of plants after the outer surface covering of water has been removed. Wet weight is not a reliable measurement since methods to prepare plants prior to weighing vary considerably; same as the fresh weight.
wind and wave action – the action of wind on the water’s surface. These forces may move, mix and disturb water (i.e., make waves). Under normal weather conditions, this process increases the amount of oxygen diffused into water from the atmosphere. However, wind from storms may decrease oxygen in a shallow waterbody as it can cause waves to stir up bottom sediments (mixing oxygen-poor sediments with surface waters and lowering the overall oxygen content).
woody plants – plants that have woody stems and grow continuously throughout the year, many years in a row, without losing their above-ground growth with the change of seasons. Example: Hypericum fasciculatum.
xylem – n. woody tissue that is part of the water-transport system in plants and also acts as supporting tissue.