Texas Tree Trails©

A  Geographic Guide To Texas' Significant Trees

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Our Mission is to find and catalog each of these treasures in order to preserve their integrity for future generations - before they all disappear.
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The Texas Tree Trails organization is a cooperative effort of the Texas A&M Forest Service, the Texas Historic Tree Coalition, the Trinity Blacklands Urban Forestry Council and the Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council, among others.

 Texas Tree Trails Glossary

    From the TFS Book, "Forest Trees of Texas"*

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Achene—A dry, one-seeded fruit lacking special seams that split to release the seed. The seed coat is attached to the thin, dry ovary wall (husk) by a short stalk
Acrid—Sharp or biting to the taste.
Acuminate—Tapering at end to a gradual point.
Acute—Terminating in a sharp angle.
Aggregate fruit—Cluster of ripened ovaries produced from a single flower containing numerous pistils inserted on a common receptacle. Example: fruit of magnolia or blackberry.
Alternate—Not opposite on the axis, but borne at regular intervals at different levels.
Anther—Pollen-bearing structure of a stamen.
Apex—The tip or end of a bud or leaf, i.e., the part opposite the base.
Apical—Pertaining to the tip, end, or apex.
Appressed—Lying tight or close against.
Aromatic—Fragrant; with a pleasing odor.
Astringent—Contracting; drawing together.
Axil—The upper angle formed by a leaf or branch with a stem.
Axis—The central line of an organ; a stem.
Bark—The outer covering of a trunk or branch. Go to top
Basal—Pertaining to or situated at the base.
Berry—A fruit which is fleshy or pulpy throughout, and with several seeds imbedded in the pulpy mass.
Bisexual—Having both stamens and pistils, i.e., male and female.
Bloom—A powdery or somewhat waxy substance easily rubbed off. Also, to produce or yield blossoms.
Bole—The main axis or trunk of a tree.
Bract—Modified leaf subtending a flower or belonging to an inflorescence.
Bud-scales—Modified leaves covering a bud.
Bundle-scars—Scars on the surface of a leaf-scar. Severed ends of the fibro-vascular bundles which connected the twigs with the leaves.
Calyx—The outer perianth or floral envelope, usually green in color; sepals, collectively.
Cambium—A thin-walled formative tissue between the bark and wood. The active growing portion of the tree.
Carpel—A simple pistil or one member of a compound pistil. Capsule—A dry fruit composed of more than one carpel and splitting open at maturity.
Catkin—An ament or spike of unisexual flowers.
Chambered—Said of the pith when interrupted by hollow spaces at rather regular intervals.
Ciliate—Fringed with hairs on the margin.
Collateral—Accessory buds at the side of auxiliary buds. Go to top
Compound—Composed of two or more similar parts united in a whole.
Conifers—A group of trees which usually produce their fruit in the form of a cone or modified cone.
Corolla—The petals of a flower collectively.
Crenate—Rounded teeth.
Crown—The upper mass of branches; also known as head.
Deciduous—Falling off, usually at the close of the season.
Defoliation—Removal of foliage.
Dehiscent—Splitting open at maturity.
Deliquescent—Said of the form of a tree with a broad spreading habit. The branches sub-divide until they apparently disappear.
Deltoid—Triangular, D Greek symbol for delta.
Dentate—Toothed, usually with the teeth directed outwards. Go to top
Diffuse-porous—-Equal-pored. Said of wood when pores in a growth ring are equal in size.
Dioecious—Unisexual, with the staminate and pistillate flowers on separate plants.
Disseminated—Scattered, thrown, broadcast.
Divergent—Pointing away; extending out. Said of buds which point away from the twigs.
Downy—Covered with fine hairs.
Drupe—A fleshy fruit with a pit or stone like a cherry.
Elliptical—Shaped like an ellipse with sloping ends.
Elongated—Long, drawn out.
Entire-margined—Margin smooth, not cut or toothed.
Excurrent—Said of a tree with a continuous trunk and erect habit of growth.
Exfoliation—Splitting or cleaving off of outer layers of bark.
Exotic—Of foreign origin.
Exudation—Oozing out of sap. resin, or other juice.
Fascicle—A close bundle or cluster.
Fetid—Foul smelling. Go to top
Fissures-—Grooves, furrows, or channels as in the bark.
Fluted—Grooved, corrugated, channeled.
Follicle—A dry fruit produced from a simple pistil and dehiscing along one line of suture.
Fruit—The ripened ovary of a flower.
Glabrate—Somewhat glabrous or becoming glabrate.
Glabrous—Smooth, without hairs.
Glandular—Bearing glands or gland-like.
Glaucous—Covered with a bluish or whitish waxy coating; a bloom.
Globose—Ball-like or nearly so.
Habitat—Site or place of growth.
Hardwood—A collective term for broadleaved trees, the wood of which may or may not be dense.
Heartwood—The physiologically dead, central, usually darker colored portion of the tree trunk.
Hybrid—A crossbreed of two species.
Increment—Growth; increase. Go to top
Incised—Divided into lobes separated by narrow or acute sinuses which extend halfway or more to midrib.
Indehiscent—Applied to fruits that do not split open to discharge the seeds, remaining closed at maturity.
Indigenous—Applied to plants that are native to a certain locality. Not introduced.
Intolerant—Not shade enduring. Requiring sunlight.
Involucre—A cluster of bracts subtending a flower.
Lamina—The blade or flattened portion of a leaf.
Lanceolate—Shaped like a lance; several times longer than wide, and growing to a point.
Lateral—Situated on the side, as the buds along the side of the twig.
Leaflets—One of the small blades or divisions of a compound leaf.
Leaf-sear—The scar left after a leaf falls.
Lenticel—A corky growth on young or sometimes older bark, which admits air to the interior of the twig or branch.
Linear—Line-like, long and narrow, with parallel edges.
Lobed—Said of leaves that have the margins more or less cut or divided.
Medullary—Pertaining to the pith or medulla.
Medullary Ray—Radial lines of tissues crossing the growth of rings at right angles and extending into the bark. Go to top
Midrib—The central or main rib or vein of a leaf.
Monoecious—Bearing male and female flower parts in separate flowers on the same plant.
Mucilaginous—Slimy or gummy when touched or chewed.
Multiple fruit—A cluster of fruits of separate flowers crowded together and forming what appears to be a single fruit. Examples: mulberry, strawberry, Osage-orange fruits.
Naked—Said of buds without scales, and seeds without a covering.
Naval Stores—Refers to tar, turpentine, resin, etc.
Node—A place on a twig where one or more leaves originate.
Nut—A dry, 1-seeded, fruit with a hard indehiscent covering and encased partly or wholly in an involucre or husk.
Nutlet—A small nut.
Oblique—Slanting, uneven. Uneven sided.
Oblong—About twice as long as wide, the sides nearly parallel.
Obovate—Reversed egg-shaped.
Obtuse—not sharp or pointed; blunt; greater than 90 degrees and less than 180 degrees: an obtuse angle
Opposite—Said of leaves and buds, directly across from each other.
Orbicular—Circular. Go to top
Ovoid—Egg-shaped or nearly so.
Palmate—Radiately lobed or divided from the petiole; hand- like as leaflets of buckeye.
Panicle—A loose, irregularly compound flower cluster with flowers on pedicels.
Pedicel—The support or stem of a single flower or fruit in a cluster.
Peduncle—A primary flower stalk supporting a cluster of flowers or a solitary flower, later the fruit. A fruit-stem.
Perennial—Lasting for more than one year.
Persistent—Remaining after blooming, fruiting, or maturing.
Petiole—The stalk of a leaf.
Pinnate—Featherlike with leaflets on both sides of rachis or leaf stalk.
Pistil—Female seed-bearing organ of flower. May consist of stigma, style, and ovary.
Pith—The soft central part of a twig or stem.
Pod—Any dry, one chambered, dehiscent fruit.
Pollen—The dust-like substance from the anthers of a flower. Go to top
Pollination—The process of bringing the pollen of the male flower in contact with the stigma of the female flower.
Pome—A fleshy fruit with a core, such as the apple or pear.
Porous—With open tubes (through wood).
Prickle-—A sharp-pointed, needle-like outgrowth.
Pubescent—With short, soft, down-like hairs.
Pungent—Acrid or sharp to smell.
Pyramidal—Shaped like a pyramid with the broadest part near the base.
Rachis—The stalk supporting the leaflets of a compound leaf.
Resin-ducts—A passage for the conduction of resin found in the leaves and wood.
Ring-porous—Said of wood which has pores of unequal size, the larger ones being found in the spring wood and the smaller ones in the summer wood.
Samara—An indehiscent winged fruit such as that of maple.
Sapwood—The recently formed, usually light colored wood, lying outside of the heartwood.
Scabrous—Rough, with stiff, bristly hairs.
Scales—The small, modified leaves which protect the growing- point of a bud or the part of a cone which bears the seeds. The small flakes into which the other bark of a tree divides.
Scurfy—Covered with small bran-like scales. Go to top
Serrate—Having sharp teeth on margin.
Sessile—Seated; without a stalk.
Sheath—A tubular envelope or covering such as surround the base of pine-needles.
Silky—Covered with long, soft, straight, fine hairs.
Simple—Consisting of a singular part, not compound.
Sinus—The cleft or opening between two lobes.
Softwood—A general term given conifers, the wood of which may or may not be of low density.
Stamen—Male reproductive organ of flower. Consists of a pollen-bearing anther on a filament.
Stipule—A leaf-appendage at the base of the leaf-stalk.
Stipule-scar—The scar left by the fall of the stipule.
Stolon—A runner or basal branch that may take root.
Striate—Marked with fine elongated ridges or lines.
Striations—Long narrow lines or ridges.
Strobile—A fruit marked by overlapping scales as in the pine, birches, etc. Go to top
Sucker—A shoot arising from an underground bud.
Superposed—Said of buds when they are arranged one above the other.
Symmetrical—Regular as to the number of parts. Having the same number of parts in each circle.
Terminal—Located at the outer end.
Thorn—A stiff, woody, sharp-pointed projection as found on locust; a spine.
Tolerant—Applied to trees which endure certain factors, particularly shade.
Tomentose—Densely pubescent; hairy. Covered with matted hairs.
Tomentum—A dense layer of woolly hairs.
Truncate—Ending abruptly, as if cut off at the end. Tufted—Growing in clusters.
Unisexual—Consisting of one sex only, either staminate or pistillate.
Valvate—Said of buds in which the scales merely meet without overlapping. Fruit opening by valves.
Veins—Threads of fibro-vascular tissue in leaves or other organs.
Whorl—A group of three or more similar organs, as leaves or buds, arranged about the same place of attachment.
Whorled—Borne in a whorl. Go to top

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* This content comes from an excellent regional publication of the Texas A&M Forest Service: Forest Trees of Texas, How to Know Them; Bulletin 20, Texas A&M Forest Service. Permission granted for republication by the Texas A&M Forest Service for educational purpose.

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