Glossary of Terminology

Plant science comes with its own vocabulary; at Conception Nurseries, we recognize that some of the words we use daily might not be familiar to those who are new to micropropagation. We’ve put together a cheat sheet of definitions for the words we use the most, we hope it’s helpful for you!

Apical shoot (or apex of plant): Terminal shoot on the uppermost portion of the plant vs the lateral / axillary shoots of a plant

Apical dominance: Vertical growth of central stem vs lateral branching

Meristem: The terminal growth point of a shoot that is a few cell layers thick and encased in leaf primordia

Plant tissue culture: A group of techniques that allow for the growth of living tissue (from single cells to whole plants) in sealed, sterile conditions

Agar (or other gel) medium: The binding agent used to create the growth media for plants grown in TC – (substratum for the nutrient medium in solid form – like a gello)

Gen Zero: Tissue cultured plantlets isolated directly from in-vitro conditions (as opposed to cuttings taken from a tissue culture derived mother plant growing in ex-vitro conditions)

Genetic drift (as it pertains to plants): The shift in genetic makeup of population over time due to interbreeding and natural selection (a plant does not “drift” genetically over time)

Somaclonal variation (as it pertains to plants): The mutation of a plant’s genome during the course of cellular replication. Phenotypic variation, either genetic or epigenetic in origin.

Node: An area on a stem where buds are located.

Bud: An undeveloped shoot from which leaves or flower parts grow.

Internode: The area between two nodes.

Leaflet: One of the segments of a compound leaf.

Sterile technique: The practice of working with cultures in an environment free from microorganisms.

Clone: Plants produced asexually from a single source plant.

Clonal propagation: Asexual reproduction of plants that are considered to be genetically uniform and originated from a single individual or explant.

Contamination: Being infested with unwanted microorganisms such as bacteria or fungi.

Plant culture: Plant tissue growing in vitro.

Explant: Tissue taken from its original site and transferred to an artificial medium for growth or maintenance.

Pathogen: A disease-causing organism.

In vitro: Propagation of plants in a controlled, artificial environment using plastic or glass culture vessels, sterile techniques, and a defined growth medium.

Medium: A nutritive solution, solid or liquid, for culturing cells.

Media: Plural of medium.

Micropropagation: In vitro clonal propagation of plants from shoot tips and nodal explants.