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06 June 2005
Flower physiology, taxonomy and anatomy
Niches has a very nifty description of flower (inflorescence) anatomy and taxonomy. His essay is complete with homemade diagrams...

An inflorescence is a cluster of flowers, all produced on the same floral stem, the peduncle. There are a bewildering variety of names for these inflorescences, but the key to figuring them out is to watch what happens to the floral meristem. Remember the floral meristem? It’s that little patch of versatile rapidly dividing cells in the tip of the stem that throws off all the organs as it grows.

Here’s a short tutorial, with My Own Drawings, to run through some of the major types of inflorescences. There are a lot more subtypes, but these are the common ones you run into in field guides.

pikes, racemes and panicles

Wayne goes on to describe and diagram corymbs, umbels, and cymes and also describes and diagrams the floral meristem in a subsequent post.

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