Fun with botanical terms. This is #3 in a continuing series

Discussion in 'The Village Square' started by Jerry Sullivan, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. Jerry Sullivan

    Jerry Sullivan Garden Experimenter Plants Contributor

    Nov 10, 2010
    Likes Received:
    Chelmsford MA
    When looking for flower or plant information we often run across words and terms that while we understand the context of the information, the exact meaning of some terms eludes us. With information in hand, the word becomes a distant memory, till next time. This is a different approach to terms and an understanding of how they fit into our daily gardening activities.

    Previous adventures with other plant terms can be found here:

    Sooo, you rotated your houseplant...The alarm has sounded!!!

    Getting to the roots, an underground story

    The loud speaker was announcing the last few seconds of the countdown:

    T minus 11….10….9….8….7….6….

    The air in the launch center was electrified with excitement. The countdown was proceeding as planed. Staff members watched monitors with trained eyes looking for the first hint of a problem……..5…….4…….3……A successful launch was eminent……but wait!! You have arrived late, you were not here for an explanation. Have no fear, through the marvels of Stewology Time Shifting(STS) we will step back a little in time……to an earlier stage in the process ……

    Whirrrrrr, Buzzzzzzz, Clangggggg!! Done!

    T minus 30 minutes and holding!!

    The announcers words echoed down the nearby hallways of the stalk telling everyone that the launch was on hold. Engineers and staff waited pensively for the new measurement instruments to arrive. The Launch Control Officer(LCO) was not about to initiate the final countdown stage without a current reading of the turgor pressure in the launch valves.

    In a nearby lateral stalk a new utility worker stared at his map, he was definitely lost. He had tried several racemes and none were the one he wanted. There were few workers to help and none could read a map. He needed directions from a supervisor…..He kept pushing his cart, it was getting darker, this was an old stalk. Turning around he took a different route, one with more workers. He spotted a sepal supervisor. The supervisor looked at the map. A few orientation instructions an he was on his way. He passed a survey team selecting a location for a new inflorescence. He soon heard the loud speakers and took the next peduncle.
    The sign over the doorway said:


    The guard checked his authorization and then actuated the doors allowing the utility worker to enter the restricted room. On his cart were several recently calibrated turgor pressure gauges. The engineers were maintaining a stable pressure, waiting for new readings….. He needed someone to sign for the new gages, he glanced at a screen, equations floated by……an engineer noticed the cart and the gauges. THE GAUGES ARE HERE!! The amount of turgor was critical component for each of the pod valves to attain the correct launch parameters. An engineer signed his calibration report. A technician grabbed one of the instruments. Five massive valves that formed the pod were filled with moisture. Workers were doing last minute checks on the seeds. A supervisor inspected the seeds glanced at a monitor, more equations scrolled by, numbers filled in the parameters.

    Velocity Vector [​IMG] Provided the speed components the seeds would have as they launched.

    Launch Angle [​IMG] Provided the angle the seeds would take when launched from the pod.

    The mechanical energy of the seeds were separated into two components:

    translational kinetic energy [​IMG] and the rotational kinetic energy[​IMG]

    Final numbers from the new turgor gauges were entered into the system. The lights on the launch board one by one turned from red to green.
    A loud speaker filled the room with the warning:

    Evacuate the facility to designated safe areas

    A warning siren accompanied loud speaker, the calibration technician pushed his cart out into the hallway. FINAL LAUNCH COUNTDOWN WILL RESUME

    The countdown sequence resumed. Workers gathered and waited in the viewing area as the pod valves reached their launch pressure.

    T minus 10….9…..8…..7…..6…..

    The air in the secure launch center was electrified with excitement. The countdown proceeded as planed. Staff members watched monitors with trained eyes looking for the first hint of a problem……..5…….4…….3……2…….1……..Launch!!!

    The membrane between the valves separated, in the blink of an eye the seeds were propelled away from the plant to the cheers of all involved. A successful launch of new seeds was attained. The crowd slowly dispersed. A new facility was opening up further up the main stalk. Moisture was already flowing up the new extended xylem to the new location. The supervisors were reassigning workers to jobs in the new inflorescence.

    An explanation of terms:

    Many plants produce seeds in containers or pods. The process of the pod opening along a predetermined weakness is called dehiscence. You have witnessed the explosive dehiscence of a Impatiens capensis. There are other forms but you get the most bang for your money from this one. Actually there is another one…'s nicknamed the dynamite tree, Hura crepitans. Seeds are launched at at 160 mph and up to 300 feet according to some observers. I'm glad they don't grow in my back yard……We digress…..Back to terms.

    Turgor pressure: The influx of water causes pressure on the cell wall and a plant becomes turgid. It's the difference between a wilting plant and a rigid plant.

    Valves: The portion of the pod that upon reaching maturity and proper turgor acts as a coil spring and launches the enclosed seeds

    Raceme: The stem of a 1 to 3 flowers in a Inflorescence

    Inflorescence: Is a group or cluster of flowers

    Peduncle: is a stem that holds the whole inflorescence

    Sepal: Part of the protective covering of a flower bud, collectively called the calyx.

    Reference material: ... rp070.full

    #4 is on the way,

    Sjoerd likes this.
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  3. Frank

    Frank GardenStew Founder Staff Member Administrator

    Jan 25, 2005
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    Galway, Ireland
    Very interesting reading Jerry as usual. I could picture the fervent activity going on! I found a video of Impatiens capensis performing what you wrote of. It sure is an eye-opener when you combine it with your explanation :eek:


    Slightly off-topic, isn't turgid just a great sounding word. Turgid. :)
  4. carolyn

    carolyn Strong Ash

    Apr 13, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Yes It is, Frank, but try using it. People look at you very strangely and think you are using gutter language. Unfortunately vocabulary isn't high on the list of a majority of peoples knowledge. :eek: :( .
    Frank likes this.

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