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Short Notes from Past Papers (Plant Taxonomy)

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< Greek phullon “leaf” + klados “shoot”> Stem resembling a leaf or a flattened stem similar to a leaf is Phylloclade.


< Latin viviparus “bringing forth alive” > describes a plant with seeds that germinate and develop into seedlings before being shed from the parent plant, e.g. a mangrove


describes birds, fish, reptiles, and insects that reproduce by means of eggs that develop and hatch outside the mother’s body


means plant variety produced by breeding or a variety of a cultivated plant that is developed by breeding and has a designated name.


means a taxonomic category of related organisms, especially plants, of a rank below a species. Varieties of a species generally have distinguishing characteristics such as a flower color and may arise naturally or through deliberate plant breeding.


is a subgroup of a species of an organism whose members show genetically determined adaptations to some environmental conditions in their habitat


From < Greek peri “around” + anthos “flower”> Perianth is the outer structure of a flower, made up of the corolla, the calyx, or both which are indistinguished from each other.


is a shoot that grows from the underground root or stem of a plant and is often able to produce its own roots and grow into a new plant.


Attachment manner of seed to ovary or the way in which ovules are attached to the ovary of a plant


< Greek thallos “green shoot” + phuton “plant”] a plant that has no stem, roots, or leaves, e.g. algae, lichens, and fungi


a nonflowering plant, often growing in damp places, which have separate gamete-bearing and spore-bearing forms, e.g. moss
Division: Bryophyta


a flowering plant that has a single leaf (cotyledon) in the seed and floral parts in multiples of three. Monocotyledons include grasses and lilies.
Class: Monocotyledones


a flowering plant that produces two seed leaves (cotyledons) when it germinates and whose subsequent leaves have a network of veins. Most herbaceous plants, trees, and bushes are dicotyledons.
Subclass: Dicotyledonae


a < Greek autos “self” + –trophic “food, nutrition”] are plants that are capable of making food from inorganic materials by the process of photosynthesis.


are organisms obtaining nourishment by digesting plant or animal matter, as animals do, as opposed to photosynthesizing food, as plants do.


[Latin and Greek sumbiōsis “a living together”, bios “life”], a close association of animals or plants of different species that is often, but not always, of mutual benefit.  Eg the lichen, which is the association b/w fungi and algae. Where fungi protect the algae and in return algae manufactures food being chlorophyllic.

Pine needles

are actually highly modified leaves that are not shed each year and can remain on the tree for long periods. Each needle has a tough outer layer called the cuticle, which in turn has a waxy coating that helps prevent water loss.

Herbarium Sheet

is a collection of dried plants, especially one in which the plants have been mounted, systematically classified, and labeled for use in scientific studies.


is a dry winged fruit like that of an ash or sycamore tree, usually growing in bunches. In smara pericarp develops membranous outgrowth on wing eg elm and aysh.


describes plants with sepals that are joined or partially joined together.


the open-grained wood of a pine, cedar, or other coniferous trees. Many types of softwood are, in fact, hard and durable.


a wood from a broad-leaved tree as opposed to from a conifer.


a Latin succulentus < succus “juice, moisture, sap”> a plant with thick fleshy leaves and stems that can store water, e.g. a cactus or aloe.


an indeterminate inflorescence in which the main axis produces a series of flowers on lateral stalks, the oldest at the base and the youngest at the top.


< Greek parthenos “virgin” + karpos “fruit”] development of fruit without fertilization or; the production of fruits without fertilization or seeds.


a side branch of a compound leaf that bears the individual leaflets, e.g. on a fern.

Hypogynous Flower

a Latin hypogynus < hypo- “below” + Greek gunē “woman,” used to mean “pistil”> describes a flower such as a buttercup that has its petals, sepals, or other parts situated below and apart from its ovary.


an alkaloid that dilates the air passages. Use: treatment of asthma and nasal congestion. Extracted from plant Ephedra found in Balochistan.

Prop/Pillar and Aerial

A root that grows from the stem of a plant above the ground and helps to support it.
Roots arising from the stem are known as adventitious roots. Such roots may be seen near the base of a corn stem. Adventitious roots formed high up on a stem are termed aerial roots, or prop roots. Such roots aid in supporting the stem, as in the banyan, the mangrove, and certain orchids.

Binomial Nomenclature

A system of naming the organism/ plants is called Nomenclature.
The method of assignment of scientific names to the plants is termed as plant nomenclature. While binomial means the assignment of two scientific names to plants.
In binomial nomenclature, the scientific name of any plant is of two parts.  (i) Genus (ii) Specific epithet (the name based on a distinct and distinguishing feature of the plant which is permanently attached to it.)
For instance, the scientific name of Quetta pine is Pinus helepensis; where Pinus is the genus and helepensis is the spp name.
Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778), a Swedish naturalist, who developed binomial nomenclature to classify and organize plants and animals.


< Latin legumen “bean”> a type of food that develops from monocarpellary ovary + unilocular. It dehisces along both sides eg pea, bean, etc.


a leaf with microspore-producing part or;   a leaf that bears a structure by which microspores are formed. In ferns, these are normal foliage leaves, the equivalent of the stamen of a flowering plant.


A flower can be divided into similar halves in more than one plane.


If a flower can be divided into equal halves in only one plane.

Self Pollination

In self-pollination, pollen is transferred from the stamens to the pistil within one flower. The resulting seeds and the plants they produce inherit the genetic information of only one parent and the new plants are genetically identical to the parent. The advantage of self-pollination is the assurance of seed production when no pollinators, such as bees or birds, are present. It also sets the stage for rapid propagation—weeds typically self-pollinate, and they can produce an entire population from a single plant. The primary disadvantage of self-pollination is that it results in genetic uniformity of the population, which makes the population vulnerable to extinction by, for example, a single devastating disease to which all the genetically identical plants are equally susceptible. Another disadvantage is that beneficial genes do not spread as rapidly as in cross-pollination, because one plant with a beneficial gene can transmit it only to its own offspring and not to other plants. Self-pollination evolved later than cross-pollination and may have developed as a survival mechanism in harsh environments where pollinators were scarce.

Cross pollination

Most plants are designed for cross-pollination, in which pollen is transferred between different plants of the same species. Cross-pollination ensures that beneficial genes are transmitted relatively rapidly to succeeding generations. If a beneficial gene occurs in just one plant, that plant’s pollen or eggs can produce seeds that develop into numerous offspring carrying the beneficial gene. The offspring, through cross-pollination, transmit the gene to even more plants in the next generation. Cross-pollination introduces genetic diversity into the population at a rate that enables the species to cope with a changing environment. New genes ensure that at least some individuals can endure new diseases, climate changes, or new predators, enabling the species as a whole to survive and reproduce. Plant species that use cross-pollination have special features that enhance this method. For instance, some plants have pollen grains that are lightweight and dry so that they are easily swept up by the wind and carried for long distances to other plants. Other plants have pollen and eggs that mature at different times, preventing the possibility of self-pollination.


a plant that grows by means of tendrils, suckers, or roots that anchor it to a surface. Also called clinging plant. Climbing: Some plants have roots which twine around the support like tendrils eg in some spp of Ficus and Hedera helix.


is any plant or animal that feeds primarily on insects.


is a plant capable of growing in salty soil eg Tamarix aphylla.


(split into several parts) describes leaves that have five or more lobes arising from a single point, spreading like fingers from a hand eg the leaves of Alistonia schollaris.


a group to which organisms are assigned according to the principles of taxonomy, including species, genus, family, order, class, and phylum.


A biological species is defined as a group of natural populations that mate and produce offspring with one another, but do not breed with other populations.

Kew Garden

An informal name for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, located in western London, England. It holds the largest collection of plants in the world. Occupying over 120 hectares (300 acres). The Royal Botanic Gardens, open to the public throughout the year, are devoted to the cultivation, conservation, and preservation of the world’s flora, and to related study and research.
Today Kew claims to have the largest and most comprehensive living plant collection in the world, displaying about 40,000 different types of plants—an eighth of all known species—including 13 that are extinct in the wild, and around 1000 that are threatened. Many are used in Kew’s research programs, which endeavor to establish the benefits of different species for food, fuel, and medicine. There is also a reference collection of around 6 million preserved specimens. As well as research, Kew offers a wide range of educational opportunities.

Plant Key

An outline of the characteristics of an organism, used for taxonomic identification.

Compound Leaf

If the lamina is divided into no of leaflets.
Compound leaves, although they appear to be a collection of many leaves, arise from a single bud. The leaflets fall as a group in the autumn. The leaf pictured here is from a Hercules’ club. It is pinnately compound (with paired, equally sized leaflets arising from a central blade), and doubly so, with leaflets attached to matching side stalks. The leaflets of palmately compound leaves, such as those of the horse chestnut family, radiate from a single point.

Dimorphic Leaves

The eucalyptus tree has two totally different shapes of leaves on the same stem. The young leaves are small, circular, and completely encircle the branch, while older leaves are long, bladelike, and borne at the ends of short stalks.
Image: Pinterest

For correction and improvements please use the comments section below. Don’t forget to share new/current Plant Taxonomy Papers Terminologies in the comments section below. I’ll add these in the current list.

Naeem Javid Muhammad Hassani is working as Conservator of Forests in Balochistan Forest & Wildlife Department (BFWD). He is the CEO of Tech Urdu ( Forestrypedia (, All Pak Notifications (, Essayspedia, etc & their YouTube Channels). He is an Environmentalist, Blogger, YouTuber, Developer & Vlogger.

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