Glossary

 
Alkaline:
Soil that has a pH level of 7.0 or more; opposite of an acidic soil.
Allelopathy
The production and release of chemical substances by one plant species that inhibit the growth of other species of plants.
Annual:
A plant that completes its life cycle in one year.
Antimicrobial:
Term used for a substance that inhibits or kills bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms.
Awn:
A narrow, stiff appendage extending from the tip of a lemma or glume (see Grass Morphology).
Ballast:
A heavy material used to stabilize a ship. Soil was often used on early ships.
Basal leaves:
Leaves found at the base and/or lower part of stem.
Biennial:
Refers to a plant that completes its life cycle in two years, reproducing in the second year.
Biodiversity:
Number and variety of living organisms; includes species diversity, genetic diversity, and ecological diversity.
Biological control
The use of living organisms to control an unwanted organism. This is often done with beetles and fungi in weed control.
Bract:
Leaf-like structure at the base of a flower head or inflorescence.
Browse:
Browse refers to the leaves, buds and twigs of shrubs and trees eaten by animals. Animals that eat browse, rather than grasses and forbs, are browsers.
Bunchgrass:
A grass having a bunched growth form and lacking rhizomes.
Cool-season grass:
Grass that begins growth in early spring when soil temperatures are relatively cool, and completes its life cycle before hot summer weather.
Cultivation:
The plowing and other preparation of land for agricultural planting.
Cure:
Preservation of nutritional value in a forage plant upon drying.
Disturbance:
Here it refers to events where existing vegetation is removed or suppressed and the soil surface is exposed.
Dryland farming:
The practice of crop production in low-rainfall areas without irrigation.
Ecosystem:
The assemblage of plant, animal and other living organisms interacting together and with their environment; often thought of as a functioning unit.
Energy flow:
The transfer of energy between different living organisms and their environment.
Floret:
A small flower within a cluster of flowers, as an inconspicuous grass flower within the flowering head (see Grass Morphology).
Fibrous roots:
A fine, highly-branched root system with many small and lateral roots, usually lacking a taproot.
Fire regime:
The historical intensity, timing and frequency of fire in a given area.
Forb:
A non-woody, broad-leaved plant.
Germination:
The initiation of growth in a seed when dormancy is broken.
Granivory:
The eating of seeds.
Habitat:
The place or type of site where an organism lives.
Herbaceous:
Plant or plant part that does not have hard woody tissue.
Infiltration:
Movement of water from the land surface into the soil.
Invasion ecology:
The study of how exotic invasions affect how organisms interact with each other and their environment.
Invasive:
A word used to describe a weed, often introduced, that is invading or spreading and is crowding out other plant species.
Litter:
Accumulation of dead plant parts on the surface of the soil.
Monoculture:
Large area where the vegetation consists almost entirely of a single species.
Mychorrhizal fungi:
Fungi that form a mutually beneficial relationship with plant roots, increasing the roots' ability to obtain nutrients and water.
Noxious:
A term arbitrarily defined by law for a weed that is especially undesirable, troublesome, and difficult to control.
Palatability:
Refers to the taste and edibility of a food.
Perennial:
Refers to a plant or plant part that lives for more than two growing seasons.
Photosynthesis:
The process of using energy in sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and oxygen.
Pioneer species:
Plant species that first grow in an unvegetated area.
Propagule:
Generic term for any part of a plant (seeds, root fragment, etc.) that can produce a new, independent plant.
Revegetation:
The process of planting vegetation on a site where it was previously removed.
Riparian:
The strip of habitat along streams and rivers where ground and surface water are more abundant than elsewhere on the landscape. These are transition areas between water (rivers and streams) and uplands (drier land above the influence of the stream or river).
Rhizome:
Horizontal, underground stems that send out shoots to the surface.
Rosette:
A circular cluster of leaves growing close to the ground. Usually refers to juvenile biennial and perennial plants before sprouting a reproductive stalk.
Sagebrush steppe:
A particular type of shrub community where the dominant shrub is sagebrush. It describes a landscape with vegetation that is a mixture of sagebrush and grasses with few trees.
Saline:
Pertaining to the level of salt. A saline soil contains sufficient soluble salts to adversely affect plant growth.
Seedbank:
The collective term for all viable seeds stored in the soil.
Seed dormancy:
Term to describe viable seeds that do not germinate due to unfavorable environmental conditions or some inhibitory factor of the seed embryo.
Shrub steppe:
Term to describe a landscape with vegetation that is a mixture of shrubs and grasses with few trees.
Species diversity:
The number and variety of species present in a community as well as the relative abundance of each species; sometimes called species richness.
Spikelet:
A small cluster of 1 to many grass flowers (florets), subtended by two bracts (glumes) (see Grass Morphology).
Taproot:
A large primary root that grows essentially straight down.
Tiller:
A shoot from the base of a plant. Tillering can be a reproductive mechanism, as in some grasses.
Toxic oxalates:
Salt of oxalic acid found in plants that is toxic to humans and animals.
Ungulate:
A hooved mammal such as deer, elk, bison, pronghorn, and bighorn sheep.
Vegetative propagation:
A form of reproduction in which new plants develop from the roots, stems, or leaves of the parent plant.
Watershed:
The land area that drains into a river, stream, or other body of water.
Winter annual:
An annual plant which germinates in the autumn, lives over winter, produces its seed during the following spring and then dies.