CALCITIC LIMESTONE: A common material used for 'liming' soil that has an acid level that is too high. This type is most commonly used and contains calcium carbonate.
CALICHE: A soil condition found in some areas of the arid Southwest, or as the result of synthetic fertilizers, caliche is a deposit of calcium carbonate (lime) beneath the soil surface. This condition is more commonly called 'hardpan' and creates an impervious layer in lower levels of soil.
CALLUS: wound tissue.
CALYX: The outer ring of flower parts, usually green but sometimes colored.
CAMBIUM: This is the thin membrane that grows just under the bark of a plant.
CANE: Woody stem of a plant (i.e. bamboo, rose, raspberry and blackberry bushes.)
CANKER: An area on soft or rotten woody stems or twigs that is caused by bacteria and fungi.
CANOPY: The crowns of trees forming the top layer in the woods or forest. Considered the high shade of gardens.
CAPILLARY ACTION: a force that causes liquids to rise or fall when inside very small tubular spaces.
CAPSULE: A dry seed pod that will split wide open when mature..
CARBOY: A large and heavy glass vessel, originally designed for the storage of chemicals but now commonly used as a container for bottle gardens.
CARNIVOROUS: Used in the gardening world to denote a plant that typically lives in highly acidic soil that doesn't adequately provide enough nourishment. Nature has adapted these plants to trap and consume insects for this need. An example is the Venus Flytrap plant.
CATKIN: A slender, spikelike, drooping flower cluster. Petal-less flowers arranged in a spike.
CELL PACK: A group of gardeners traveling together in a confined space for snipping and stealing plant material in a botanical garden.
CHLOROPHYLL: The green pigment in leaves. When present and healthy usually dominates all other pigments.
CHLOROSIS: An abnormal yellowing or blanching of the leaves due to lack of chlorophyll.
CLAY SOIL: A soil containing from 30 to 100 percent clay. It is fine-textured and sticky when wet.
CLIMBERS: Those gardeners who are willing to hike for distances to see an alpine specimen.
CLOCHE: a transparent plant cover used to protect plants from cold temperatures.
CLONE: A genetically identical group of plants, created from one individual by vegetative propagation.
COLORED LEAF: Leaves with one or more colors apart from green, white or cream are distinctly present.
CLUB ROOT: A disease of cabbages and some related vegetables caused by the slime mold fungus.
COLD COMPOST: A method by which organic material just rots on its own. It may take months or years to naturally decompose. There may be a significant amount of weed seeds. And, there may be the danger of some disease organisms still in the compost.
COLE CROPS: These are members of the cabbage family (ie. broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, collards, kohlorabi)
COMMON NAME: The name by which plants are known by non-botanists. Plants that have a short history of cultivation may not have a common name. these names vary from country to country, even from region to region.
COMPACTION: a state where soil particles are forced closely together, reducing pore space.
COMPANION PLANTING: Different plants that are planted together for the benefit of each other. Whether it be color or roots deeper to bring up the nutrients for the secondary plant.
COMPLETE fertilizer: A plant food which contains all three of the primary elements... nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
COMPOST: An organic soil amendment resulting from the decomposition of organic matter. Usual meaning for the house plant grower is a potting or seed/cutting mixture made from peat.
COMPOST HEAP / COMPOSTING: The result and act of combining organic materials under controlled conditions so that the original raw ingredients are transformed by decay and degradation into humus (or compost).
COMPOUND FLOWER: A flower made up of many florets.
COMPOUND LEAF: A leaf made up or two or more leaflets attached to the leaf stalk.
CONIFER: A cone bearing tree with tiny needlelike leaves.
CONSERVATORY: A structure composed partly or entirely of glass. attached to the house and within which a large number of plants are grown and enjoyed.
CORDON: horizontal branches of a grapevine trained along the trellis; also called the arms. The canes left after pruning which will produce fruiting shoots and new canes.
CORM: A thickened underground stem which produces roots, leaves and flowers during the growing season.
COROLLA: The ring of separate or fused petals which is nearly always responsible for the main floral display.
COTYLEDON: The first leaves to appear on a seedling, containing enough nutrients to feed the seed for a short period.
COVER CROP: a crop that improves the soil in which it is grown.
CRESTED: Cockscomb-like growth of leaves, stems or flowers. Other name - cristate.
CROCK: A piece of broken pot used to help drainage. Almost always referring to clay or ceramic pieces.
CROWN: The point at which a plants roots and top join. (usually at ground or near soil level)
CREEPER: any plant that will make long shoots and grow along the ground such as creeping fig, ivy, or Virginia creeper.
CROCKING: Any material used in the bottom of containers to provide drainage (i.e. shells, rocks, broken pottery, Styrofoam.)
CROSS: Another name for hybrid, but used in much more common terms.
CROSS POLLINATION: the transfer of pollen from one plant to the stigma of another plant.
CULINARY HERB: A plant grown for its strong flavor which is used to cook with in dishes and salads. the parts of the plant used are the leaves, flowers, or bulbs.
CULUN: In the bamboo world this refers to the stem of grasses being usually hollow.
CUT BACK: Trimming or cutting moderately, making sure some of the last season's growth is left, to clean the plant up and the encourage new growth.
CULTIVAR: also cultivated variety; a subdivision of a species, a result of human-manipulated hybridization.
CULTIVATE: Process of breaking up the topsoil surface, removing weeds, and preparing for planting.
CULTIVATION: The technique of weeding and hoeing for the purpose of increasing the air in the to layers of the soil and to break up the soil so water will penetrate.
CUTTING: A piece of a plant (leaf, stem or root) which can be used to produce a new plant. It can then be used in propagation.
CYCAD: An ancient group of plants that were very abundant in the "age of dinosaurs" (the Jurasic and Cretaceous periods). There are less than 200 species that survive today and are growing in the warmer regions of the world. Often thought of as long-lived flowerless plants. Most are palm or fern-like.
CYME: A flat-topped or domed flower head in which the flowers at the center open first.