Inflorescence

Definition - What does Inflorescence mean?

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, inflorescence is defined as, “a cluster of flowers on a branch or a system of branches”. However, it also applies to the blooming order or pattern of those flowers, as well as how they are arranged, and more.

All flowering plants, from weeds to trees, have a specific flowering pattern called inflorescence.

There are six major types of inflorescence, divided into two categories – determinate inflorescence and indeterminate inflorescence.

MaximumYield explains Inflorescence

Determinate inflorescence means that the youngest flowers are at the bottom of the structure, and the oldest at the top. Indeterminate inflorescence means that the youngest flowers are at the top of the structure, and the oldest flowers are at the bottom.

Within those categories, there are six major types of inflorescence – racemose, cymose, compound, cyathium, verticillaster and hypanthodium.

  • Racemose: Racemose inflorescence means that the main axis or branch does not terminate in a flower. It continues to grow, and flowers are produced along the sides of the axis.
  • Cymose: The main axis develops a flower at the end, terminated growth. The lateral axis also terminates in a flower. The flower at the end of the main axis opens first, followed by the younger flowers.
  • Compound: In compound inflorescence, the main axis will branch multiple times (branches may be racemose or cymose).
  • Cyathium: In this formation, a single female flower is surrounded by male flowers in a centrifugal style.
  • Verticillaster: The axil of the leaf may bear a cluster of sessile or sub-sessile flowers, and the main axis usually supports two lateral branches, each supporting a single branch on alternate sides.
  • Hypanthodium: In this scenario, male and female flowers form on the inner wall of a cupular receptacle. All flowers within the cup or bowl-shaped receptacle are cymose groups.
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