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Re: [aroid-l] what does inflorescence mean?

  • Subject: Re: [aroid-l] what does inflorescence mean?
  • From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" hetter@worldonline.nl
  • Date: Thu, 5 Jun 2003 15:01:57 +0200
  • Importance: Normal

> >Hi there...Time to buy a good book on botanical terms and my
> favorite is:  A
> >Dictionary of Botany by R. John Little and C. Eugene Jones -
> they define
> >inflorescence as:
> >"the arrangement of flowers on a floral axis; a floral cluster"

This is just about the thing. A true floral axis is not always
visible/present as an inflorecence can also be a number of flowers coming
from one common point. So, Amorphophallus titanum (and all aroids) have
inflorescences, that BTW DO seem to imitate one unitary flower with that
spathe encircling it and acting as a "corolla".

Am. titanum indeed has the largest unbranched inflorescence. The largest
single flower belongs to Rafflesia arnoldii.

> >
> That is the best explanation of the several.  Say you have a
> foxglove.  That long spike with all the flowers on it is the
> inflorescence.  With Agave, I would say that big, tree-like
> structure is the inflorescence, because an Agave not in
> flower does not have it.
> It can get confusing with asters; that is, is each head an
> inflorescence, or is the whole cluster of heads the inflorescence?

Asters and e.g. spurges have an even higher level of organisation where
individual inflorescemces may themselves be small and clustered so as to
form a higher level inforescence (sometimes called a synflorescence.....are
ye all with me???). In fact many aroids also have a synflorecence as more
inflorescences may appear from one and the same point (e.g. Syngonium).


Lord P.

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