14 February 2013

Word day Thursday: Basipetal

Term and pronunciation Basipetal (Bay-sipit-al)
Etymology From Latin: Base + Petal - with the sense of moving in a specified direction.
The growth or development from the apex (shoot tip and root tip) to the base. Meaning that the oldest parts are nearest the apex and the youngest parts are near the base. The opposite action is called acropetal where the youngest parts are at the apex.

Usage and examples

Basipetal movement:The plant growth regulator auxin has been shown to prefer basipetal movement.

Basipetal maturation: This is when the flowers mature in a downward fashion from the top of the stem. CRM over at WAB gave Button snakewort (Liatris spicata) as an example of a plant that flowers in this way.

The first written usage of basipetal as recorded by the OED is that published by Student in 1869 in reference to basipetal formation of foliary parts.

"basipetal, adj.". OED Online. December 2012. Oxford University Press. 11 February 2013 <http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/15958?redirectedFrom=basipetal&>.
Allaby, M. (2012) Oxford Dictionary of Plant Sciences, Oxford, Oxford University Press.


  1. wow ... I've been educated! All these years I thought that basipetal referred to basal attachment of stamens on petals, in contrast with epipetalous. I guess I wasn't paying attention in taxonomy class :)

    1. I'm glad the post helped. It certainly educated me too - I'd never heard of it before. I recently got a dictionary of plant science, which is where these words are coming from :)

    2. If you don't mind, I'll use epipetalous when I get round to 'E' :)

    3. absolutely, I look forward to E!

      on another subject ... I'm putting together an article (and post) about plant blogging for our plant society newsletter in March. I hope to get our local plant folks interested in joining the phytoblogosphere. May I use a screen capture of your site as an illustration? with due credit of course. Right now, I think I would use the top part of the fungal 5 facts post.

      cheers, Hollis (hollis@stanfordalumni.org)

    4. Hi Hollis,
      Absolutely, I'd be honoured. It would be really nice to see your finished article too.
      I'll also email you in case you don't see this reply.


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