Last updated
Diagram of a panicle Inflorescences Panicle Kwiatostan Wiecha.svg
Diagram of a panicle

A panicle is a much-branched inflorescence. [1] Some authors distinguish it from a compound spike inflorescence, by requiring that the flowers (and fruit) be pedicellate (having a single stem per flower). The branches of a panicle are often racemes. A panicle may have determinate or indeterminate growth.


This type of inflorescence is largely characteristic of grasses such as oat and crabgrass, [lower-alpha 1] as well as other plants such as pistachio and mamoncillo. Botanists use the term paniculate in two ways: "having a true panicle inflorescence" [lower-alpha 2] as well as "having an inflorescence with the form but not necessarily the structure of a panicle".


A corymb may have a paniculate branching structure, with the lower flowers having longer pedicels than the upper, thus giving a flattish top superficially resembling an umbel. Many species in the subfamily Amygdaloideae, such as hawthorns and rowans, produce their flowers in corymbs.

Sorbus glabrescens corymb with fruit Sorbus glabrescens.jpg
Sorbus glabrescens corymb with fruit

See also


  1. Technically, the inflorescence unit in a grass is the spikelet, but the arrangement of spikelets may be described as a panicle.
  2. "In the form of a panicle" [1]

Related Research Articles

Inflorescence Term used in botany to describe a cluster of flowers

An inflorescence is a group or cluster of flowers arranged on a stem that is composed of a main branch or a complicated arrangement of branches. Morphologically, it is the modified part of the shoot of seed plants where flowers are formed. The modifications can involve the length and the nature of the internodes and the phyllotaxis, as well as variations in the proportions, compressions, swellings, adnations, connations and reduction of main and secondary axes. One can also define an inflorescence as the reproductive portion of a plant that bears a cluster of flowers in a specific pattern.

Raceme Unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers along its axis

A raceme or racemoid is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit. A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. Cimicifuga racemosa. A compound raceme, also called a panicle, has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard and radish plants.

Corymb Term used in botany to describe a certain type of flower growth

Corymb is a botanical term for an inflorescence with the flowers growing in such a fashion that the outermost are borne on longer pedicels than the inner, bringing all flowers up to a common level. A corymb has a flattish top with a superficial resemblance towards an umbel, and may have a branching structure similar to a panicle. Flowers in a corymb structure can either be parallel, or alternate, and form in either a convex, or flat form.

Indeterminate growth

In biology and botany, indeterminate growth is growth that is not terminated in contrast to determinate growth that stops once a genetically pre-determined structure has completely formed. Thus, a plant that grows and produces flowers and fruit until killed by frost or some other external factor is called indeterminate. For example, the term is applied to tomato varieties that grow in a rather gangly fashion, producing fruit throughout the growing season, and in contrast to a determinate tomato plant, which grows in a more bushy shape and is most productive for a single, larger harvest, then either tapers off with minimal new growth or fruit, or dies.

Glume one of two bracts enclosing a flower spikelet in grasses

In botany, a glume is a bract below a spikelet in the inflorescence of grasses (Poaceae) or the flowers of sedges (Cyperaceae). There are two other types of bracts in the spikelets of grasses: the lemma and palea.

<i>Molinia caerulea</i>

Molinia caerulea, known by the common name purple moor-grass, is a species of grass that is native to Europe, west Asia, and north Africa. It grows in locations from the lowlands up to 2,300 m (7,546 ft) in the Alps. Like most grasses, it grows best in acid soils, ideally pH values of between 3.5 and 5, however, it can continue to live under more extreme conditions, sometimes to as low as 2. It is common on moist heathland, bogs and moorland throughout Britain and Ireland. Introduced populations exist in northeastern and northwestern North America.

Spikelet Part of a spike inflorescence of a grass or sedge

A spikelet, in botany, describes the typical arrangement of the flowers of grasses, sedges and some other Monocots.

A thyrse is a type of inflorescence in which the main axis grows indeterminately, and the subaxes (branches) have determinate growth.

<i>Bouteloua dactyloides</i>

Bouteloua dactyloides, commonly known as buffalograss or buffalo grass, is a North American prairie grass native to Canada, Mexico, and the United States. It is a shortgrass found mainly on the High Plains and is co-dominant with blue grama over most of the shortgrass prairie.

This page provides a glossary of plant morphology. Botanists and other biologists who study plant morphology use a number of different terms to classify and identify plant organs and parts that can be observed using no more than a handheld magnifying lens. This page provides help in understanding the numerous other pages describing plants by their various taxa. The accompanying page—Plant morphology—provides an overview of the science of the external form of plants. There is also an alphabetical list: Glossary of botanical terms. In contrast, this page deals with botanical terms in a systematic manner, with some illustrations, and organized by plant anatomy and function in plant physiology.

<i>Bromus secalinus</i>

Bromus secalinus is a species of bromegrass known as rye brome. The specific epithet secalinus is Latin, meaning "rye-like". The fruits are hard, rounded glumes that appear superficially similar to the rye grain, which gives the brome its common and scientific name. The grass has a diploid number of 28.

<i>Calamagrostis rubescens</i>

Calamagrostis rubescens is a species of grass known by the common name pinegrass.

<i>Bromus commutatus</i>

Bromus commutatus, the meadow brome, is an annual or biennial species of plant in the grass family Poaceae. In the United States it is known as hairy chess.

<i>Agrostis canina</i>

Agrostis canina, commonly known as velvety bentgrass, brown bent or velvet bent, is a species of grass.

Stipa avenacea - renamed Piptochaetium avenaceum, and commonly called black oat grass, blackseed needle grass or blackseed speargrass, is a perennial bunchgrass native to Eastern North America. It is a member of the grass family Poaceae.

<i>Muhlenbergia capillaris</i> Species of plant

Muhlenbergia capillaris, commonly known as the hairawn muhly, is a perennial sedge-like plant that grows to be about 30–90 cm (0.98–2.95 ft) tall and 60–90 cm (2.0–3.0 ft) wide. The plant includes a double layer; green, leaf-like structures surround the understory, and purple-pink flowers outgrow them from the bottom up. The plant is a warm-season grass, meaning that leaves begin growth in the summer. During the summer, the leaves stay green, but they morph during the fall to produce a more copper color. The seasonal changes also include the flowers, as they grow out during the fall and stay healthy till the end of autumn. The muhly grows along the border of roads and on plain prairies. The grass clumps into herds, causing bush-like establishments in the area the hairawn muhly inhabits. The flowers are very feathery and add a cloudlike appearance to the top of the grass. It is native to eastern North America and can be used for a multitude of purposes, including ornamental gardening and farming. It was voted 2012 plant of the year by the Garden Club of America.

Aristida rhizomophora is a species of grass known by the common name Florida threeawn. It is endemic to Florida in the United States.

<i>Melica nitens</i>

Melica nitens is a species of grass known by the common name threeflower melicgrass. It is native to the central United States.

<i>Festuca gautieri</i>

Festuca gautieri, commonly known as spiky fescue or bearskin fescue, is a species of flowering plant in the grass family, Poaceae, native to the Pyrenees. It is a commonly cultivated evergreen or semi-evergreen herbaceous perennial, and, as a native to European alpine areas, it is a small, low-growing Festuca suitable for rock gardens.

<i>Festuca brachyphylla</i>

Festuca brachyphylla, the alpine fescue, is a grass native to Eurasia, North America, and the Arctic. The grass is used for erosion control and revegetation. The specific epithet brachyphylla means "short-leaved". The grass has a diploid number of 28, 42, or 44.


  1. Hickey, M.; King, C. (2001). The Cambridge Illustrated Glossary of Botanical Terms. Cambridge University Press. p. 30. ISBN   978-0521790802. A much-branched inflorescence. (softcover ISBN   978-0521794015).