Forest Home Welcome to Ariadne's Forest Glossary

Glossary: C is for ... canopy, chlorophyll, and cotyledon
by Ariadne Unst

Glossary of C...

calyx
Protects the flower's delicate parts while the flower is in the bud. Outermost or lowest whorl of the parts of the flower. Contains sepals, which are usually green though sometimes petal-like.

cambium (n.)
In exogenous plants, a layer from which bark and new wood are formed.

canopy (n.)
The "roof" of a forest. The roughly continuous cover of branches and foliage formed collectively by the crowns of adjacent trees.

canopy drip (n.)
The proportion of precipitiation (rain, snow, sleet, etc.) that falls on a plant and that the plant redirects so that it falls (usually at the edge) from its canopy.

carpel (n.)
A simple pistil or ovule-bearing part of a flower.

carbohydrate (n.)
Synthesized by plants from carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. See also photosynthesis.

carbon cycle (n.)
Carbon's movement through aquatic and terrestrial systems.
1. Carbon is assimilated in photosynthesis and lost in respiration.
2. Carbon dioxide is exchanged physically between the atmosphere and water (oceans, rivers, lakes). It is very soluble in water. About 50 times as much carbon dioxide is dissolved in the world's oceans as is contained in the atmosphere.
3. Carbon dioxide in solution is deposited in sediments (chalk, limestone, etc.).

carolla
Ring of petals inside the calyx.
Usually the most colorful part of the flower and seen when the bud opens. Outermost or lowest whorl of the parts of the flower. Contains sepals, which are usually green though sometimes petal-like.

carrying capacity (n.)
The theoretical maximum that a population reaches, determined by the circumstances of that population.

catalyst (n.)
An agent that increases the rate of a chemical reaction, without being changed. For example chlorophyll acts as a catalyst in photosynthesis.

catkin (n.)
A deciduous spike or spikelike inflorescence of unisexual and petal-less flowers (such as walnut, willow, or birch).

chaos (n.)
Apparent disorder and confusion. A delicate balance the forces of stability and the forces of instability.

chaparral (n.)
An low-rainfall area, characterized by dense and leathery evergreen shrubs.

chlorophyll (n.)
Green pigment in plants. Contains nitrogen and magnesium, as well as carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. An essential catalyst in the production of carbohydrates using energy captured from light through photosynthesis.

C horizon (n.)
The soil horizon below the B horizon and above the R horizon. This layer comprises weathered bedrock.

class (n.)
A group of plants or animals below a phylum and above an order.
Classes of seed-bearing plants:

clearcut (n.)
A cutting method in which trees are cleared over a considerable area at one time. This, in effect, removes the forest community. Regeneration can occur from natural seeding from adjacent trees, seeds in the slash or logging debris, planting or direct seeding. Eventually, an even-aged forest can result.

climate (n.)
The combination of temperature, precipitation, and winds of a region over time. Specific climates are:
hot climate. Mean annual temperature over 21ºC.
warm temperate climate. No month below 6ºC.
cool temperate climate. One to five months below 6ºC.
cold climate. Six or more months below 6ºC.
arctic climate. No month above 10ºC.
desert climate. Low rainfall.
mountain climate. Trees do not grow at high altitudes.

climax community (n.)
The final stage of an ecological succession sequence. The final and mature association of living organisms following a natural succession. This stage remains relatively unchanged, if climatic and physiographic factors remain stable. It is determined by temperature and the moisture available. Often it comprises the tallest trees.

clinometer (n.)
An instrument for determining the angle of a slope. Knowing the distance from a tree and using a clinometer to measure its angle, an observer can be estimate the hight of a tree.

cold climate (n.)
Six or more months below 6ºC. Usually:
Taiga on marine edges.
Steppe or taiga in continental or boreal regions.
See also climate.

complete (adj.)
Describes a flower that contain petals, sepals, pistils, and stamens.

common ancestor (n.)
The hypothetical single species of an organism that tow or more different species of organism evolved from.

community (n.)
A group of plants or animals living in a defined area under relatively similar conditions. An association or assemblage of plant and animal populations that live in a particular area or habitat, often dominated by one or more prominent species or by a characteristic physical attribute.
The time and distance each organism moves before it is captured and eaten are largely what determines the area defined by the community and the time for which its dynamic equilibrium thrives.
Often characterised by:
(1) Growth form and structure;
(2) Diversity (number of species);
(3) Relative abundance;
(4) Dominance and subdominance of species;
(5) Feeding hierarchy - what eats what.
On land, usually soil has a greater effect on vegetation than climate; of climatic factors, temperature and moisture are most important.

competition (n.)
Interaction between organisms to struggle for limited, shared resources (space, food, water, fuel, etc.).

complete flower
All four rings must be present:

compound (adj.)
Made of two or more similar parts; for example a leaf that has leaflets.

compound leaf (n.)
A leaf separated into two or more distinct leaflets.

conifer (n.)
Evergreen shrubs and trees, with cones and needle-like leaves. Includes firs, junipers, pines, spruces.

coniferous vegetation (n.)
Cone-bearing vegetation of middle and high latitudes. The plants are mostly evergreen and they have needle-shaped or scale-like leaves.

controls (n.)
Controls help an experimenter regulate and validate an experiment. They let the experimenter factor out trends (such as a rising temperature or increasing light intensity) that could influence what is observed during the experiment. This is essential to check that an experiment has appropriate randomization.

convergent (adj.)
Having characteristics that are similar in structure and function, but that arose separately, rather than from a common ancestor.

cool temperate climate (n.)
One to five months below 6ºC. Usually:
Temperate forest on marine edges.
Steppe or taiga in continental regions.
See also climate.

cool temperate zone (n.)
Winters are well-marked; deciduous leaves lose their leaves as winter approaches. Often occurs at cloud level.

corolla
The petals of a flower; the major function of the corolla is usually to attract specific insects that will transfer pollen between lowers to fertilize their seeds. In the open flower, the petals are usually larger and more colorful than the sepals.

cotyledon (n.)
A structure in the embryo of a seed plant that can form a leaf after germination. An embryonic leaf that often stores food materials. A seed leaf.

Cretaceous (n.)
A geologic period roughly 65 to 144 million years b.p. (before the present); the first flowering plant species appeared; the diversity of dinosaurs climaxed. (Dinosaurs died out at the end of the Cretaceous.)

crown class (n.)
One of the classes into which trees of a stand may be divided based on crown development and crown position relative to crowns of adjacent trees. Four classes commonly recognized are: dominant, codominant, intermediate, and suppressed.

cytokinins (n.)
A class of hormones promoting and controlling growth responses of plants.