Columnar: Tall and thin trees with upward facing branches.
Conical: Trees that are wider at the base and narrower at the top. Conical (also called pyramidal) trees have a distinct cone or pyramid shape with a triangular top.
Crown: The foliage and branches at the top of a tree.
Habit: The term to describe the overall shape of a tree. Refers to the general mode of tree or plant growth.
Oval: The branches of the tree form an oval shape, spreading from the central trunk.
Round: The branches of the tree form a round shape, spreading from the central trunk.
Spreading: Wide trees with horizontally reaching branches.
Vase: Tree branches that grow upward at a sharp angle and that flare at the top, creating a wide crown.
Weeping: Tree branches droop downwards.
Conifers: Trees that are usually evergreen, have needle- or scale-like foliage, and bear cones. Commercial wood from conifers is often called softwood.
Deciduous: Trees that lose all of their leaves annually.
Evergreens: Trees that have foliage year round. Only the tree’s oldest leaves or needles fall each year.
Cunate: A leaf that has an acute angle base and is wedge-shaped.
Cordate: A heart-shaped leaf where the stem is attached at the wide end of the leaf (inversely indented).
Deltoid: A triangular-shaped leaf. The bottom two corners are usually rounded off.
Elliptical: An oval-shaped leaf. Its widest part is at its center and the two tips usually tapper equally.
Lanceolate: A leaf that is significantly longer than it is wide and has its widest section just below its middle.
Oblanceolate: A leaf that is significantly longer than it is wide and has its widest section just above its middle.
Oblong: A leaf that is longer than it is wide and has parallel sides. It may resemble a rectangle with rounded edges.
Obovate: An egg-shaped leaf where the widest part is above the middle of the leaf and the stem is attached to the narrow end.
Oval: A broadly elliptical (oval-shaped) leaf that has a width greater than half its length.
Ovate: An egg-shaped leaf where the widest part is below the middle of the leaf and the stem is attached to the wide end.
Round: A leaf that has a full sweeping arc base.
Spathulate: A leaf with a spatula-like shape. Its top is broadly rounded and its bottom curves downward toward the base.
Alternate: Leaves are staggered along the branch/twig (not directly across from each other).
Bipinnate: Leaves are attached on either side of the stem and the leaflets are also attached on either side of a stem (a two time subdivided pinnate arrangement).
Compound: Leaves are attached to a middle vein but also have their own stalks.
Even Pinnate (Paripinnate): Leaves are arranged in pairs along the stem without an extra leaf at the top.
Odd Pinnate (Imparipinnate): Leaves are arranged in pairs along the stem with one extra (pairless) leaf on top.
Paired: Leaves are arranged directly across from each other along the branch/twig.
Palmate: The blades, lobes, or veins of a leaf are arranged circularly or like fingers on the palm of a hand.
Pedate: The blades, lobes, or veins of a leaf are arranged like feet.
Pinnate: Leaves or the veins of a leaf that are arranged in pairs across from each other, or like the vanes of a feather.
Exfoliating: Bark that peels in shreds or thin layers.
Furrowed/Fissured: Bark with narrow openings or breakages.
Lenticels: Loosely packed mass of cells that appear on the bark as raised horizontal lines. Lenticels allow for gas exchange between the atmosphere and the interior tree tissue.
Ridged: Bark with narrow raised bands.
Anthers: The part of the stamen that contains pollen.
Bract: Part of the flower found above the leaves but below the flower. A modified leaf that bears a flower.
Catkin: Clusters of petalless flowers. Catkins are usually unisexual.
Dioecious: A flower that has male and female reproductive organs on separate flowers.
Monoecious: A flower that has both male and female reproductive organs on the same flower.
Panicle: A loosely branched cluster of flowers.
Racemes: Unbranched flower clusters where each flower grows on a small stalk, equally spread along a central stem.
Spike: A flower arrangement where the flowers are tall and unbranched.
Stamen: The male reproductive organ of a flower that produces pollen. The stamen is made up of the stem and the anther.
Acidic: Soil that has a pH level of less than 7.
Alkaline: Soil that has a pH level of more than 7.
Clay: Soil that is very dense and resistant to water movement.
Loam: Soil that is comprised of about equal parts sand and silt and a little less clay. Loam is often considered the ideal gardening soil.
Sandy: Very porous soil.
Silt: Soil that is made up of small particles and minerals that are smaller than a grain of sand but larger than a clay particle. These particles and minerals are easily carried and deposited by water.