Glossary/pronunciation

If you are new to collecting cactus, you might find yourself overwhelmed by all of the unfamiliar words that are frequently thrown around. Below you'll find what some common cactus related terms mean, and for some of the more tricky ones, how we personally pronounce* them.

 

Aerial root

Roots that grow out of the soil on the above-ground portions of a plant.

Alkaloids Organic compounds of plant origin that are said to have a physiological effect on humans. The strength of any alkaloid present in a species or individual specimen is highly variable and influenced by age, environment, genetics, health/stress, time, weather, and other factors.

Anther

Male part of the flower that produces pollen. The Anther, along with the filament, form the stamen.

Apex

The highest point at the tip of a cactus.

Areole The hairy and/or spiny felted cushion of a cactus where flowers and offsets arise.

Autogamy

Self-pollination/Self-fertilization.

BAP

6-Benzylaminopurine is a hormone that is used to encourage pupping. It is typically made into a gel by mixing 2% of the BAP Powder to 98% Lanolin over a gentle heat, and that gel is applied onto an areole with an object like a toothpick.

Bridgesii

Trichocereus Bridgesii grows throughout Bolivia. The non-monstrose form grows columnar, whereas the monstrose form (or Trichocereus Bridgesii Monstrose - 'TBM' for short) has short stem segments that branch with smooth, spineless upper portions. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, it is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'brid-JES-ee', but 'brid-JES-ee-eye' is also very common. Read about why you shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

CCI

The Cactus Conservation Institute. A group dedicated to the study and preservation of vulnerable cacti in their natural range that seeks to balance and respect all interests including regulatory bodies, the Native American Church, ranchers, and the scientific community.

(the) Cactus Family

An expansive and informative book by Edward F Anderson that fetches a pretty penny when listed online (but can be found in pdf form on scribd).

Caespitose / caespitosa

A growth form that in latin means “growing in tufts” or “densely-clumped”. Offsetting to produce many stemmed cushions or mounds. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'kess-pi-TOHS'/'kess-pi-TOH-suh'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Cal-Mag

A common supplement used to feed plants that includes two of the most important secondary macronutrients (Calcium and Magnesium).

Callus

The scarred-over protective tissue that develops over a wound.

Central spines

The spines coming from the center of the areole.

Chevron

See 'v-notch'.

Chlorophyll

The natural green pigment that occurs in many plants and used in photosynthesis.

Compost tea A liquid produced by extracting beneficial microorganisms from compost using a brewing process.

Corking Gradual ripening of the flesh at the base of a cactus that produces a tough bark-like texture.

Crest

A mutation where a plant forms a long line of multiple growing points that crowd against each other, rather than a single point.

Cristate Crest-shaped or crested. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'ˈkriˌstāt'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Cross-pollination See 'pollination'.

Cultivar (Cv.) Assemblage of plants selected for desirable characteristics that are maintained during propagation. 

Cuticle A thin waterproof protective layer that covers the epidermis of a plant. 

Cutting A detached section of a plant that is used for propagation.

Cuzcoensis Trichocereus Cuzcoensis is a Trichocereus species said to come from Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, cuzcoensis is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'kuz-koh-EN-sis'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Damping off Rotting of stem and root tissues at and below the soil surface due to fungal attack.

Dichotomous

When the axis of a plant is divided into two  equal branches or columns. 

Dormancy

A temporary period in a plant's life cycle when growth and development is temporarily stopped. This minimizes metabolic activity and therefore helps it to conserve energy.

 


Echinopsis A large genus of cacti native to South America (Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, etc) that through (non universally accepted) changes in classification, has absorbed Trichocereus from a taxonomic perspective. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'ek-in-OP-sis'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Epidermis The outer layer of tissue in a plant.

Ethnobotany The scientific study of a region's plants and their medical, religious, and other uses through the traditional knowledge of people.

Etiolation The process of stretching out or weakening in plants due to insufficient light.

Fibrous root A thin, moderately branched root, which absorbs moisture and nutrients.

Fungicide Chemical compounds or biological organisms used to kill parasitic fungi or their spores.

Fusarium A large genus of soil fungi widely distributed in the world.

Genus A grouping of similar, closely related and morphologically similar Species. 

Glaucous The pale grey or bluish-green appearance of the surfaces of some plants.

Glochids Hair-like small and brittle barbed spines found on the areoles of some cacti. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'ˈglōkə̇ds'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Grafting A method of plant propagation where two different parts of two closely related plants are joined together by means of tissue regeneration, typically in order to give the preferred growth properties of the larger 'stock' to the smaller 'scion'.

Grandiflorus Trichocereus Grandiflorus is a cactus from the genus Trichocereus. It is often used as a grafting-stock. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'gran-dih-FLOR-us'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Grow light A light that either attempts to provide a light spectrum similar to that of the sun, or to provide a spectrum that is more tailored to the needs of plants. They are frequently used to sprout seedlings indoors, and for the first <12 months after germination (at which point they are typically moved outside).

H202 See 'Hydrogen peroxide'.

Hardy/Hardiness A plant's ability to tolerate ability to survive adverse growing conditions (cold, heat, drought, flooding, wind, etc).

Hormodine3
A rooting hormone including indole-3-butyric acid.

High Pressure Sodium Abbreviated as HPS. A type of gas-discharge light that contains solid sodium metal inside a borosilicate glass tube that vaporizes once the lamp is turned on.

Humus Material resulting from partial decomposition of plant organic matter.

Hybrid / Hybridization An offspring of two plants of different subspecies, breeds, varieties, species, or genera.

Hydrogen peroxide Used at low concentrations to treat rot, kill fungus/bacteria/mould on seedlings, sterilize soil, and kill some pests.

IBA A hormone that promotes rooting. Stands for Indole-3-Butyric Acid.

Keeper Trout Keeper Trout is a scholar who has written/published very informative research in the fields of sacred cacti and ethnobotany. Read more here. https://troutsnotes.com/trouts-notes-library/

Lageniformis See 'Bridgesii'. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'lah-gen-FORM-us'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

LED A light-emitting diode (LED) is a solid-state light source that offers energy savings, a reduction in temperature, and a longer lifespan. Instead of emitting light from a vacuum (like an incandescent bulb) or a gas (like a CFL), SSL emits light from a piece of solid matter (a semiconductor).

Loam A soil consisting of a mixture of clay, silt, and sand.

Macronutrients A chemical element that is essential in relatively large amounts to the growth and health of a plant.

Meristem A formative plant tissue usually made up of small cells capable of dividing indefinitely and giving rise to similar cells to form permanent tissue.

Metal Halide A type of high-intensity discharge grow light that contains metal halides that emit light when heated up.

Micronutrients A chemical element or substance that is essential in minute amounts to the growth and health of a plant.

Monstrose Stem growth deviating greatly from the natural form. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'ˈmän(t)-strəs'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Nutrient(s) The chemical elements that promote growth, provide energy, and maintain life.

Offset Aka 'Pup'. A lateral shoot arising from a plant which can be removed for propagation. 

Pachanoi Trichocereus Pachanoi is a cactus endemic to Peru and Ecuador. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, it is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'pach-annoy', but 'pack-annoy' and 'puh-KAH-no-ee' are also common. Read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Parafilm A semi-transparent, flexible thermoplastic film composed of a proprietary blend of waxes and polyolefins. It is used by some to hold the scion to the rootstock in grafting due to its strong, malleable, and self-sealing properties.

Pathogen A specific causative agent (such as a bacterium, fungi, or virus) which causes disease.

PC Predominate Cultivar/Clone. In the US, the majority of cactus sold as "San Pedro" horticulturally is this cultivar. It grows fast, flowers beautifully, has reasonably small spines, and is frequently used as a grafting stock. There is actively debate as to the correct classification/species of what is referred to as PC (ie if it is in fact Pachanoi or something else like Riomizensis, Bridgesii, etc).

Penis cactus See 'TBM' (Trichocereus bridgesii monstrosa).

Perennial A plant that persists for several years.

Peruvian Torch See 'Peruvianus'.

Peruvianus Trichocereus Peruvianus is a cactus native to Peru. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, it is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'pə-ˈrü-vē-a.nus'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

pH A measure of acidity and alkalinity of a solution. A value of 7 represents neutrality and lower numbers indicate increasing acidity and higher numbers increasing alkalinity.

Photosynthesis The formation of carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and a source of hydrogen (such as water) in the chlorophyll-containing cells of plants exposed to light.

Pistil The female organs of a flower, usually differentiated into an ovary, style, and stigma.

Pollination The transfer of pollen from the anther to the stigma on the same or a different flower.

Pulp The juice and flesh inside of a fruit that houses the seeds.

Pup See 'offset'.

Radial spine The spines found around the edges of the areole.

Ribs The expandable ridges on a cactus which allow the plant to hold a variable amount of water.

Root ball The main mass of roots located beneath the plant.

Rootstock A plant's root system from which new growth can be produced. In grafting the rootstock is used to lend its preferred growth properties to the attached 'scion'.

San Pedro See 'Pachanoi'.

Self-pollination The transfer of pollen from the anther of a flower to the stigma of the same flower or that of a genetically identical flower (as of the same plant or clone).

Self-fertile Fertile by means of its own pollen.

Self-sterile Sterile to its own pollen (requires the pollen of a genetically dissimilar flower for pollination).

Scion A detached portion of a plant which is joined to a stock by grafting in order to propagate this plant which has the properties that the propagator desires.

Scopulicola Trichocereus Scopulicola is a cactus native to Bolivia. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, it is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'ˈskäp,ˈyü,ˈlik,ˈkō-lə'... but read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Shade cloth A cloth used to provide shade from the sun that is usually made of loosely woven polyester and can be found in varying densities/degrees.

Species A category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations that resemble one another and are potentially capable of interbreeding.

Spination The distribution and arrangement of spines.

Spines A stiff sharp pointed plant structure.

Stamen The pollen-producing male organ of a flower that consists of an anther and a filament.

Stigma
Part of the pistil of a flower which receives the pollen.

Stock See 'rootstock'.

Succulent A plant with fleshy tissue that retains/conserves moisture.

Sulphur A plant fungicide frequently used by dusting cut wounds preventatively.

Takeaway Tek A technique or tek (Traditional Ecological Knowledge) for successfully germinating seeds using a plastic takeaway container, seeds, water, and various soils/dressings.

T5 An affordable grow light using fluorescent technology. Six to eight bulb 48" T5HO(High Output)s with a mix of 3000k and 6500k bulbs are frequently used to sprout seedlings indoors, and for the first <12 months after germination (then they are typically moved outside).

Tap root The primary root that grows downward and gives off small lateral roots.

Taxonomy The classification of plants and animals according to their presumed natural relationships.

Terscheckii Trichocereus terscheckii is from Bolivia and Argentina, and is often considered related to (or falling on some range comprised of) Trichocereus terscheckii, Trichocereus werdermannianus, Trichocereus validus, Trichocereus taquimbalensis etc. As can be said of some other Trichocereus, it is highly variable and traits associated with it can be found in a few related species. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'tər-ˈSHEK-ee', but tər-ˈSHEK-ee-eye' is also common. Read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

Trichocereus A genus of columnar cactus that lumps together a large collection of species. Echinopsis, through changes in classification that are non universally accepted, has absorbed Trichocereus from a taxonomic perspective. For what it's worth, we pronounce this 'try-koh-KER-ee-us', but 'trihk-uh-SIH-re-uhs' is also common. Read about why you probably shouldn't worry too much about pronouncing latin botanical names "correctly" here.

TBM Trichocereus Bridgesii Monstrose ('TBM' for short). The monstrose form has short stem segments that branch with smooth, spineless upper portions. Aka Penis plant.

Top-dressing A thin layer of material, such as crushed rock, that is applied to the surface of the soil to limit erosion, moisture loss, and prevent the floating of soil contents.

V-notch V-shaped notch above the areole. aka "Chevron".

Variegation Discrete markings or different colored sections of tissue that are without chlorophyll. Plants with variegation are often seen as collectible.

Vascular bundle A strand of specialized vascular tissue within a plant that is part of the system that transports water and nutrients. In grafting the vascular bundles of two plants are connected.




Key to Pronunciation Symbols

* Note: latin botanical terms are screwy! Not only are there are ≥two accepted systems of pronunciation, no native speakers exist to consult, and words can combine elements of a few languages/are supposed to be influenced by the speaker's language of origin. As long as the person you're speaking with knows what you mean, you're golden!

u sofa (sO ´fu ), ite m (I ´tu m), easi ly (E ´zu lE ), canno n (kan´u n), circu s (sÛr´ku s)
a a ct (akt), ba t (bat)
A a pe (A p), fai l (fA l), day (dA )
â ai r (âr), ca re (kâr)
ä a rt (ärt), fa ther (fä´ðu r)
b b ack (bak), lab or (lA ´bu r), cab (kab)
ch ch in (chin), hatch et (hach´u t), rich (rich)
d d ock (dok), lad y (lA ´dE ), sad (sad)
e e nd (end), stea dy (sted´E ), me t (met)
E e ve (E v), clea r (klE r), see (sE )
f f at (fat), ph ase (fA z), cough (kôf)
g g et (get), bigg er (big´u r), tag (tag)
h h and (hand), ah ead (u hed´)
hw wh eel (hwE l), wh ich (hwich)
i i t (it), pi ll (pil), mi rror (mir´u r)
I i ron (I ´u rn), eye (I ), buy er (bI ´u r)
j j am (jam), g ing er (jin´ju r), edg e (ej)
k k it (kit), tack le (tak´u l), c ook (kook)
kh as in German ach (äkh), ich (ikh); Scottish loch (lokh)
l l ittl e (lit´u l), holl y (hol´E), pull (pool)
m m an (man), hamm er (ham´u r), climb (klI m)
N this symbol indicates that the preceding vowel is nasal as in French ci nq (saNk), u n (öN), sa ns (säN), to mbe (tôNb), e n (äN)
n n ew (noo), kn own (nO n), winn er (win´u r)
ng sing ing (sing´ing), fin ger (fing´gu r), sang (sang), san k (sangk)
o ho t (hot), bo dy (bod´E )
O o ver (O ´vu r), ho pe (hO p), grow (grO )
ô o rbit (ôr´bit), fa ll (fôl), saw (sô)
ö as in French peu (pö), German Goe the (gö´tu )
oo foo t (foot), wo lf (woolf), pu t (poot), pu re (pyoor)
OO boo t (bOO t), lo se (lOO z), drew (drOO ), true (trOO )
oi oi l (oil), roy al (roi´u l), boy (boi)
ou ou t (out), crow d (kroud), how (hou)
p p ip e (pI p), happ y (hap´E )
r r oad (rO d), appear ed (u pE rd´), car penter (kär´pu ntu r)
s s o (sO ), c ite (sI t), bas te (bA st)
sh sh all (shal), s ure (shOO r), nati on (nA ´shu n)
t t ight (tI t), bett er (bet´u r), t alked (tôkt)
th th in (thin), bath (bath)
ð th en (ðen), fath er (fä´ðu r), bath e (bA ð)
u bu t (but), floo d (flud), so me (sum)
Û cu rl (kÛrl), gi rl (gÛrl), fe rn (fÛrn), wo rm (wÛrm)
ü as in French Clu ny (klünE ´)
v v est (vest), triv ial (triv´E u l), ev e (E v)
w w ax (waks), tw ins (twinz), cow ard (kou´u rd)
y y ou (yOO ), oni on (un´yu n)
z z ipper (zip´u r), eas e (E z), treads (tredz)
zh pleas ure (plezh´u r), roug e (rOO zh)
´ primary accent, written after accented vowel or syllable: Nebraska (nu bras´ku ), James Buchanan (byOO ka´nu n)
" secondary accent: Mississippi (mis"u s-sip´E )
ñ dash, replacing obvious portion of pronunciation: hegemony (hijem´u nE, hE ñ, hej´u mO "nE , heg´u ñ)
- hyphen, to prevent ambiguity in syllabification: Erlanger (Ûr´lang-u r), dishearten (dis-här´tu n)

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