Spring Has Sprung: Tree Terminology for Arbor Day: April 30

Turn over a new lexical leaf and branch out with this list of arboreal vocabulary. Learning these words will really spruce up your language!
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Full list of words from this list:

  1. arboreal
    of or relating to or formed by trees
    The Arboretum’s newly christened Daniel J. Hinkley Asian Maple collection is an arboreal treasure.Seattle Times (Oct 19, 2019)
    Arboreus is Latin for "tree." You'll see this in other tree-related words like arbor, a trellis used for training climbing plants, arboretum, a botanical garden focused on trees, and Arbor Day, a holiday that encourages people to plant trees.
  2. bough
    any of the larger branches of a tree
    Scattered visitors walked quietly amid boughs of cherry blossoms weighed down with raindrops.Washington Post (Mar 23, 2020)
    Bough is another word for branch, below, though it usually refers to bigger ones connected directly to the trunk.
  3. branch
    a division of a stem arising from the main stem of a plant
    Little Pinch jumped off a low branch and made a huge gash just over his eye.The Birchbark House
  4. cone
    tapering mass of ovule- or spore-bearing scales or bracts
    On the 15th hole, Molinari’s third shot hit a pine cone and fell into the pond.Golf Digest (Mar 24, 2020)
    In Greek, konos means both the geometric solid and the seed-bearing parts of conifers, below.
  5. conifer
    a type of tree or shrub bearing cones
    Back in the 1960s and 1970s, a government-encouraged rash of planting ended up with regimented rows of the same species of conifers - which meant they were susceptible to the same pests and diseases.BBC (Mar 13, 2020)
    You can see cone in conifer, which makes sense since coniferous trees like pines grow their seeds inside cones. They also don't drop their needles in the winter, and tend to have much softer, more bendable wood than deciduous trees. That's because keeping their needles means that their branches need to bend under the weight of heavy snow.
  6. copse
    a dense growth of trees, shrubs, or bushes
    A dense copse of trees surrounds a small plaza, screening it from acres of graves.Washington Post (Oct 24, 2019)
    A Middle English word, copse refers to a thickly grown area of forest that is more easily walked around than through.
  7. deciduous
    shedding foliage at the end of the growing season
    Co-author Martin Venturas said the team did not find many differences between species in the study, which covered 20 locations across the mainland of the US, and included both deciduous and conifer species.BBC (Nov 26, 2019)
    Unlike conifers, above, deciduous trees drop their leaves in the fall. Also generically known as "hardwoods," deciduous species include species like oak and maple. deciduus is a Latin word meaning "hanging down" or "falling."
  8. forest
    a large, densely wooded area filled with trees and plants
    But many great apes are already at risk of extinction due to forest destruction and poaching, so the researchers say closing national parks, reserves and zoos must be seriously considered.The Guardian (Mar 24, 2020)
  9. gall
    abnormal swelling of plant tissue
    But eventually, they caught some living inside fallen tree galls.New York Times (Mar 13, 2020)
    A gall is a lump on the side of a tree trunk or branch caused by an insect laying its eggs inside the bark. The galls from oak trees, because of their dark discoloration, have been used to make ink and dye for centuries.
  10. germinate
    sprout; produce buds or branches
    They germinated in Kew and seedlings were shipped to East Asia.BBC (Feb 11, 2020)
  11. leaf
    a flat, usually green part of a plant attached to a stem
    She stepped over spongy leaves and moss, into the woods where the sparrows sang nesting songs in delicate relays.The Birchbark House
  12. lumber
    the wood of trees prepared for use as building material
    Collins grew up in a family-run lumber company in tiny Caribou, Maine.Washington Post (Mar 21, 2020)
  13. phloem
    plant tissue that conducts synthesized food substances
    All of its internal life exists within three paper-thin layers of tissue—the phloem, xylem, and cambium—just beneath the bark, which together form a moist sleeve around the dead heartwood.A Walk in the Woods
    Phlóos is Greek for "tree bark," and the phloem form part of a tree's circulatory system, which is located just beneath its bark. If phloem sounds like "flow," that's not a coincidence; fluum, the Latin word that "flow" comes from, shares an Indo-European root with it.
  14. photosynthesis
    formation of compounds in plants aided by radiant energy
    Trees use carbon dioxide as part of the process of photosynthesis - with the carbon ending up in the branches, trunk and roots.BBC (Mar 13, 2020)
    Photo is Greek for "light," and synthesis means "composition." Trees use energy from sunlight plus carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create carbohydrates that fuel their cells. As a byproduct of this reaction, they give off oxygen. This is why deforestation is accelerating climate change: trees remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
  15. root
    underground plant organ that lacks buds or leaves or nodes
    Right now her sister, Angeline, was digging at the ground near spruce trees and cutting lengths of the roots, used to secure the house better and to finish baskets.The Birchbark House
  16. sap
    a watery fluid that circulates in a plant
    For when the maple sap began to run it meant that warmer days, pleasant sun, all the beauties of spring were close at hand.The Birchbark House
    Sap is the liquid that flows up from the roots to provide water and nutrients to a tree. The sap from maple trees is probably the most famous kind, because when it's boiled down it becomes maple syrup. Sweet! Sap as a verb means "to weaken," the way draining too much sap from a tree would cause its leaves to droop.
  17. timber
    the wood of trees prepared for use as building material
    As the population of Knox County expanded, nearly all of the cypress trees were felled by the timber man’s axe, making way for more farmland as the trees were being turned into wooden shingles.Washington Times (Mar 22, 2020)
    An Old English word with Germanic origins, timber refers to wood used for construction. Most famously, it's sometimes shouted by lumberjacks to warn others that a tree is about to fall.
  18. transpiration
    the emission of water vapor from the leaves of plants
    This is done by the transpiration of billions of plants.The Guardian (Nov 17, 2019)
  19. trunk
    the main stem of a tree
    Each currant plant is trained to the shape of a T, with a single trunk capped by two fruiting arms that grow in opposite directions along the fence, which provides support.Washington Times (Mar 24, 2020)
  20. xylem
    plant tissue that conducts water and dissolved nutrients
    The xylem and phloem were not flowing properly.Los Angeles Times (Oct 7, 2019)
    Zylom means "wood" in Greek. Xylem, along with phloem comprise the circulatory system of trees, bringing water and nutrients up from the roots and sugars from photosynthesis in the leaves to all the cells of the tree.
Created on March 19, 2020 (updated March 27, 2020)

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