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Glossary Exploration of the letter A for Orchids

Glossary Exploration of the letter A for Orchids

Looking at a few online glossaries of orchid terminology, we realized that the explanations given for the words that begin with the letter “A” alone require looking up a number of other words just to understand the definitions. So here’s our reinterpretation of orchid terms from the American Orchid Society that begin with “A”.


Adventitious Bud
- meristem originating from a single cell or group of cells not part of preexisting meristem.

  • Meristem - the actively growing area of the plant from which mature tissues such as leaf, stems, flowers and roots originate.
  • Translation into simple English: a bud that develops in an unusual, unexpected place on the plant.
  • For more, go to Wikipedia’s page on Adventitiousness

Adventitious Propagation - the use of tissue culture to produce whole plants from adventitious buds. Can lead to high levels of somaclonal variation, unlike micropropagation.

  • Tissue Culture - the technique of culturing cells on a sterile synthetic media. There are two general methods use to propagate plants -- micropropagation and adventitious propagation.
  • Somaclonal Variation - genetic variants arising from tissue culture.
  • Micropropagation - the use of tissue culture to grow inactive axillary buds into whole plants with very little somaclonal variation, unlike adventitious propagation.
  • Axillary Bud - preexisting meristem within the axil of a leaf that is normally inactive in growth.
  • Axil - the angle between the upper side of a leaf or stem and the supporting stem or branch.
  • Wikipedia explains, “Adventitious roots and buds are very important when people propagate plants. Propagation via root cuttings requires adventitious bud formation. Adventitious roots and buds must develop in tissue culture propagation of plants.”

Aerial Root  - any root produced above the growing medium.

Aerial Stem - a stem with an erect or vertical growth above the ground.

Anther - the part of the stamen containing the pollen; the end of the column.

Axillary Bud - preexisting meristem within the axil of a leaf that is normally inactive in growth.