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Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative

Florida Invasive Plant Education Initiative


Leaf Shapes | Flower Parts



– n. any small, dry fruit with one seed whose outer covering (pericarp) does not burst when ripe. Example: sunflower seed


– n. a wide variety of tiny, often microscopic, plants (or plant-like organisms) that live both in water and on land (alga – singular)


(leaf arrangement) - adj. leaves occurring one at a node; one after another, not opposing.


– n. the internal structure of an organism and/or its parts


– n. a major division of the plant kingdom, commonly known as flowering plants; their reproductive organs develop seeds in the flowers (angiosperms - plural). Example: duck potato


– n. the top of the stamen, which produces the pollen


– a tank or pool filled with water for the purpose of keeping live fish and other underwater animals and/or plants


– 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

aquatic vascular plants

– aquatic plants containing the conductive vascular tissue, phloem and xylem


(plant habit) – adj. growing upward, inclined. 


– the whole mass of air surrounding the earth


– n. the angle found between any two organs or structures, as between a stem and leaf


– adj. in an axil, growing in an axil, as buds



– 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 (bacterium - singular)


– 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


– n. any fleshy simple fruit with one or more seeds and a skin, as a tomato, cranberry, banana, grape, etc.; without a stony layer surrounding the seeds

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

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. 


– adj. an individual flower with both male and female parts


– n. the leaf of a plant, especially grass; the flat or expanded portion of a leaf; lamina. 


– 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


– n. a small usually terminal branch


– n. an undeveloped leaf or flower (or both) of a plant. 


– 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. 



(flower part) – n. all sepals of a flower combined together. (calices – plural). 


– 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


– n. the chief substance found in the cell walls or woody part of plants; which contributes to their stiffness


– 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


(leaf attachment) – adj. leaf partially encircles the stem. Example: West Indian marsh grass


– n. the average condition of the weather at a place, usually over a period of years as exhibited by temperature, wind velocity, and precipitation


(plant habit) - adj. growing upward in a winding fashion. 


(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


– adj. composed of two or more similar and united parts (as a leaf with 2 or more leaflets)


(leaf base) – adj. with a sinus and rounded lobes at the base; the overall outline is usually ovate or heart-shaped. 


– n. an enlarged rounded solid underground stem, filled with nutrients. 


– n. the inner, usually colored or otherwise differentiated, whorl or whorls of the perianth; the petals of a flower as a whole. 


– 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


– n. a natural stream of water, normally smaller than (and often tributary to) a river


(plant habit) – adj. growing by spreading out and staying close to the ground. 


(leaf margin) – adj. having a notched, indented, or scalloped edge. 


– n. the stalk or stem for grasses and sedges and related plants, usually jointed and hollow. 



– adj. that which falls down; losing foliage with change of seasons


– n. the breakdown of dead organic material by microorganisms into simpler compounds


– v. to spread freely (extend, scatter)


– 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


– n. a fleshy or pulpy fruit with the inner portion of the pericap hard or stony and enclosing the seed



– 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


– 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


(leaf shape) – adj. having the form of an oval or ellipsis; widest in the middle, similar to the outline of a football. 

emergent plants

– same as emersed

emersed plants

– are rooted in shallow water with much of the vegetative growth above the water.


(leaf margin) – adj. having a margin devoid of any indentations, teeth, or lobes. 


– 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


(plant habit) – adj. vertical; upright standing. 


(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


– 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


– adj. and/or n. purposefully or accidentally introduced species to a native habitat (Example: from a natural range outside of Florida). Not necessarily invasive



– n. a stalk; the part of a flower that holds the anther. 

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. More information

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: waterliliesspatterdock, and the American lotus

food web

– n. feeding relationships between plants and animals in an area or ecosystem

free-floating plants

– are not anchored in the sediment; they get their nutrients directly from the water. Example: duckweedsbladderwortcoontailwater hyacinth



– adj. without hairs


– n. a depression that secretes a substance (from a plant surface)


– adj. bluish green; covered with a pale green bloom


– adj. rounded; almost spherical; globular


– 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



– 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.


– n. the locality or external environment in which a plant lives. 


– 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

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)


– n. a chemical that kills plants or inhibits their growth; intended for weed control. More information


– n. an animal that eats only plant material. This group includes many insects (aphids, wasps, etc.) and mammals (rabbits, mice, deer, squirrels, elephants, etc.)


– 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


– n. any cross-bred plant



– adj. completely covered with liquid; submerged. To be completely involved or occupied


– adj. native; originating or occurring naturally in a specific area. Example: cattails are indigenous to Florida


– n. a cluster or arrangement of flowers on an axis; a flowering branch

integrated control

– a combination of all available plant control methods into a strategy compatible with the use and current conditions of a waterbody


– n. the portion of a stem between nodes. 

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.


– 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 exotic plant

– an exotic plant species that is expanding on its own in native plant communities, endangering the existence of native species. Example: water hyacinth

invasive plant

– a non-native plant species that is able to spread on its own, causing environmental or economic harm

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



­(leaf margin) – adj. with an irregularly torn margin. 


– n. a large inland body of fresh water, (formed naturally by sink holes, rivers, glaciers, etc.); larger than a pool or pond


(leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a lance; broadest toward the base and narrowedat the tip; several times longer than wide. 


– 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. 


– 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 axil

– n. the angle found between the leaf and the stem

leaf base

– the lowest part of a leaf (near the petiole or stem) the bottom of the leaf where it attaches to the 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


– n. bearing seeds along the ventral surface; a leguminous plant


– n. thin, membranous extension of the leaf sheath on the upper surface of the leaf; may be hairy or bristly, hard or soft


– n. the scientific study of physical, chemical, meteorological, and biological conditions of inland waterbodies


(leaf shape) - adj. long and slender with parallel or nearly parallel sides



– n. boundary line; the edge (ex. of a leaf). 


– 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

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


– adj. on the boundary line; on the edge (of a leaf)


– n. a tract of wet land principally inhabited by emergent herbaceous vegetation (usually a transition between land and water)

mechanical control

– the use of machines to shear, crush, shred, press, pull and remove aquatic weeds from waterbodies


(waterbody) – adj. contains moderate concentrations of nutrients and supports a moderate amount of algae and/or plants, fish and wildlife


– n. central and most prominent vein of a leaf or leaflet. 


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. More information

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


– 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)


– n. a knob or joint of a stem from which leaves, roots, shoots, or flowers may arise. A node may contain one or more buds. 

non-native, nonindigenous

– from "another area"

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


– chemicals that algae and aquatic plants (macrophytes) need for growth. Nitrogen and phosphorous are two of the most common nutrients found in Florida soils



(leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a lance point reversed; having the tapering point next to the leafstalk. 


(leaf shape) – adj. elliptical, slightly rectangular and from two to four times longer than it is broad


(leaf shape) – adj. inversely ovate; roughly the shape of an egg, with the broad end at the top


(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


(leaf arrangement) – adj. leaves or bracts on opposite sides of the stem/twig; occurring two at a node, directly across from one another. 


(leaf shape) – adj. almost circular or shield-shaped. 


(leaf shape) – adj. egg-shaped and with the broader end towards the base. 


– adj. egg-shaped


– 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


– n.A colorless gas that makes up 21% of the atmosphere. It is essential for animal (including human) respiration


palmately compound

(leaf arrangement) – leaflets that originate from a common center. 


– 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


– n. an organism that causes disease in another organism; usually a virus, bacterium or fungus


(leaf base and attachment) – adj. round shield-shaped leaves, attached to the stem at the center. 


– adj. a plant that grows for 3 or more years and usually flowers each year


(flower) – adj. with both male and female parts; bisexual


– n. the outer whorl of floral leaves of a flower; collectively, the calyx and corolla, or either one; if one is absent


– n. the colored parts of the corolla (most of the time), usually arranged in a circle; most visible part of the flower. 


– adj. the slender stalk or stem of a leaf (small foot); also called a leaf stalk 


(leaf attachment) – petiole (leaf stalk) is present


– 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


– 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

physical control

– the use of hand-pulling techniques, drawdowns (water removal), flooding, burning, dredging and shading to control invasive plants. More information


– n. the female reproductive organ of a flower; may be comprised of a single carpel (consisting of stigma, style and ovary) or two or more carpels united


– n. a leaflet or a primary division of a compound leaf (L. pinna, feather). Pinnae (or pinnas) – plural of pinna


– 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.


– 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


– n. a body of standing water smaller than a lake, often artificially formed

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


– 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.

propagulum or propagule

– n. a runner or sucker used in the asexual reproduction and dispersal of plants. (propagula or propagules – plural)



– n. an inflorescence with many flowers arranged along an axis


– n. the main axis of an inflorescence


(leaf shape) – adj. having the shape of a kidney


– 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


–a large natural stream of water; larger than a creek


– n. a subterranean horizontal root-like stem sending out leaves and shoots from its upper surface and roots from its lower surface


– 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


(leaf arrangement) – adj. clustered and crowned around a common point of attachment. 


(leaf base) – adj. arched or circular in shape rather than pointy and/or angled. 


– 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



(leaf base) – adj. shaped like an arrow with the basal lobes pointing downward. 


– n. the act or process of deposition of decomposed organic material on the bottom of a waterbody, often called muck

Secchi disk

– a small black and white disk used to measure water clarity


– 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


– n. any of the leaf divisions of the calyx; part of the outer floral leaves, usually green. 


(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


(leaf attachment) – adj. sitting directly on a main stem or branch without the support of a leaf stalk


– n. the protective covering; the lower part of a leaf that envelopes stem or culm. 


– n. a young branch/leaf that shoots out from the main stock


(leaf) – adj. a single blade


(leaf shape) – adj. shaped like a spatula or spoon, gradually widening distally and with a rounded tip


– n. a group of successfully interbreeding individuals


– n. a subdivision of a spike; the parts that contain the flowers of the plant; often have scales and/or bristles


– 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.)


(leaf habit) – adj. spread out in different directions. 


– a place where the underground aquifer surface meets the ground surface; where groundwater flows out of the ground


(leaf base) – adj. having the shape of a square; having right angles. 


– n. the male reproductive organ of a flower; situated within the petals and in most cases is composed of the filament and the anther, that produces pollen. 


– n. the main axis of a plant, typically above the soil surface; generally supports the leaves. 

stem tuber

– n. a swollen structure produced by stolons and runners which remains dormant during adverse conditions and later grows into a new plant when the conditions become favorable for growth


– n. the upper tip or part of the pistil of a flower receiving the pollen. It is generally situated at the upper extremity of the style. 


– n. a small leaf-like or membranaceous growth at base of a leaf petiole. 


– n. a slender modified stem growing along the ground, rooting at the nodes and developing a new plant; horizontally growing stem


– 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


– n. slender upper part of the pistil, supporting the stigma of a flower. 


– 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


– n. low ground filled with water; a wooded area having surface water much of the time



– n. tea colored organic dissolved compounds that originate from many types of terrestrial and aquatic plants; can affect the color of a waterbody


– n. the scientific classification of organisms, based on natural relationships

terrestrial (plant)

– adj. a plant that is living or grown on land; not aquatic


– adj. plants laying flat on the ground, on the surface, or on other vegetation


– 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


– n. the short, thickened, fleshy, food-storing portion of an underground stem with many surface buds; shaped like a tiny potato. 


– 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. 


– n. a drifting mass of peat, mud and plants; often referred to as a “floating island.”

twice compound

– adj. leaflets that are again divided into leaflets


– adj. winding around an object or another plant



(leaf margin) – adj. having a wavy edge. 



– adj. containing a system for carrying or circulating fluids, such as sap and/or water, through the body of a plant

vascular bundle

– n. part of the transport system found in vascular plants; used to transport water and/or nutrients within the plant; strand-like, contains the xylem and phloem

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


– 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

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


– 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

wet woodland

– a wooded area having surface water some of the time, for intermittent short periods


(leaf arrangement) – n. parts of a flower, or leaves (three or more at a time) arising from one node; vertical. A circle of flowers. 

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. Hypericum fasciculatum



– n. woody tissue that is part of the water-transport system in plants and also acts as supporting tissue