plant-related terminology

Doug Jensen dpjensen at
Sun Apr 27 09:37:58 EST 1997

[big snip]
Pollinator (pollen transfer agent) and pollenizer (plant that
provides pollen) are so close that they are usually confused. I
tell students to associate the "t" in pollinator with transfer to
tell them apart. 
[big snip]

I've never heard the term pollenizer, and a quick look through Raven et al. and 
Moore et al. did not turn it up.  You can put this in your list of excess words, 
IMHO.  However, I find many of the others in the original list acceptable if 
presented to the student with a context that makes them meaningful.

We should not be teaching or not teaching terminology to our students without 
attaching some utility to them.  It is not useful for me to require my students 
to know the difference between monoecious and dioecious unless I can attach a 
meaning to the terms.   Some of the meanings may be quick and simple:  cycads 
are dioec, conifers are monoec, and angiosperms have mostly perfect flowers.  
Other meanings can be more profound, as a discussion of the evolutionary 
implications of each of these traits.

I have fun with terminology and I love to point its flaws to my classes.  For 
example I might teach about monoecy and dioecy, then I might describe 
polygamodioecy and geitenogamy (not related, but a favorite term of mine).  I 
will laughingly tell my class these words and say they are not required to know 
them.  This lets them know that (1) I agree there is an overabundance of terms 
in botany, (2) I'm a relatively nice guy--other instructors would have them 
learn EVERYTHING, and (3) some of these excess terms may be useful at times.

Doug Jensen
Berea College

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Subject: Re: plant-related terminology
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