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The inflorescence of Vanda garayi, an epiphytic orchid, is a typical raceme. Vanda garayi.png
The inflorescence of Vanda garayi , an epiphytic orchid, is a typical raceme.

A raceme ( /rˈsm/ or /rəˈsm/ ) or racemoid is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing flowers having short floral stalks along the shoots that bear the flowers. The oldest flowers grow close to the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows in height, with no predetermined growth limit. Examples of racemes occur on mustard (genus Brassica ) and radish (genus Raphanus ) plants.



A raceme or racemoid is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers (flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels ) along its axis. [1] In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers grow close to the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows in height, with no predetermined growth limit. [2] A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. the species Cimicifuga racemosa . A compound raceme, also called a panicle , has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard (genus Brassica ) and radish (genus Raphanus ) plants. [3]


A spike is an unbranched, indeterminate inflorescence, similar to a raceme, but bearing sessile flowers (sessile flowers are attached directly, without stalks). [2] Examples occur on Malabar nut ( Justicia adhatoda ) and chaff flowers (genus Achyranthes ). [3] A spikelet can refer to a small spike, although it primarily refers to the ultimate flower cluster unit in grasses (family Poaceae) and sedges (family Cyperaceae), [2] in which case the stalk supporting the cluster becomes the pedicel. A true spikelet comprises one or more florets enclosed by two glumes (sterile bracts), with flowers and glumes arranged in two opposite rows along the spikelet. Examples occur on rice (species Oryza sativa ) and wheat (genus Triticum ), both grasses. [3]


An ament or catkin is very similar to a spike or raceme "but with subtending bracts so conspicuous as to conceal the flowers until pollination, as in the pussy–willow, alder, [and] birch...". These are sometimes called amentaceous plants. [4]


A spadix is a form of spike in which the florets are densely crowded along a fleshy axis and enclosed by one or more large, brightly–colored bracts called spathes . Usually the female flowers grow at the base, and male flowers grow above. [3] They are a characteristic of the family Araceae, for example jack–in–the–pulpit (species Arisaema triphyllum ) and wild calla (genus Calla ). [4]



From classical Latin, a racemus is a cluster of grapes. [5]

See also

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Inflorescence</span> 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 on the axis of a plant. 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.

Panicle Term used in botany to describe a branching of flower heads

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spadix (botany)</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bract</span> Modified or specialized leaf

In botany, a bract is a modified or specialized leaf, especially one associated with a reproductive structure such as a flower, inflorescence axis or cone scale. Bracts are often different from foliage leaves. They may be smaller, larger, or of a different color, shape, or texture. Typically, they also look different from the parts of the flower, such as the petals or sepals. A plant having bracts is referred to as bracteate or bracteolate, while one that lacks them is referred to as ebracteate and ebracteolate, without bracts.

<i>Andropogon gerardi</i> Species of grass

Andropogon gerardi, commonly known as big bluestem, is a species of tall grass native to much of the Great Plains and grassland regions of central and eastern North America. It is also known as tall bluestem, bluejoint, and turkeyfoot.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indeterminate growth</span>

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Spikelet</span> Part of a spike inflorescence of a grass or sedge

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Ischaemum rugosum, also known as saramollagrass, is a flowering plant belonging to the grass family Poaceae in the genus Ischaemum, and is native to tropical and temperate regions of Asia, growing in marshes and other wet habitats. It is a vigorous annual, and is an invasive species in South America and Madagascar. It reaches heights of up to 1 m and is primarily recognized by the ridged surface of its sessile spikelet’s lower glume. Despite its historic importance as fodder in Asia, the grass has become a major weed in mid-latitude rice paddies throughout Asia and South America.

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  1. Walters, Dirk R.; Keil, David J. (1 January 1996). Vascular Plant Taxonomy (4th ed.). United States: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company. p.  602. ISBN   978-0-7872-2108-9.
  2. 1 2 3 Wofford, B. Eugene (1989). Guide to the Vascular Plants of the Blue Ridge. University of Georgia Press. pp. 10–15. ISBN   978-0-8203-2455-5.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Kumar, Vinay; Bhatia, S. S. (2013). Complete Biology for Medical College Entrance Examination. McGraw Hill Education Series (3rd ed.). McGraw Hill Education (India) Private Limited. p. 218. ISBN   978-1-259-06430-2.
  4. 1 2 Gilman, Daniel Coit., ed. (1907). The new international encyclopædia. Vol. 10. Peck, Harry Thurston; Colby, Frank Moore. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. p. 618.
  5. Oxford English Dictionary. Raceme 2. Bot. A type of inflorescence in which the flowers are arranged on short, nearly equal, lateral pedicels, at equal distances along a single elongated axis