Egyptian cotton n. 1 a particular species of cotton (Gossypium barbadense L., of the Malvaceae) whose seeds are known for their extra-long fibres (35-60mm). 2 the fibres of this species, harvested for textile use; extra-long staple cotton; sea island cotton; Pima cotton. [< established cultivation of the species in Egypt]

ein·korn (īn´kôrn) n. a hardy wheat of southern Europe and western Asia (Triticum monococcum L., of the Poaceae), characterised by its single-floret spikelets, often used for livestock feed. [< G ein one + Korn kernel]

eld·er (el´dər) or el·der·ber·ry (el´dər bãr´ē) n. any shrub or small tree of the genus Sambucus L. (of the Caprifoliaceae), most widespread in North America and Eurasia, and bearing white flowers followed by black or red berries. [< OE ellærn, cf. MLG ellern, elderne]

el·e·cam·pane (el´i kam pān´) n. a tall herb (Inula helenium L., of the Asteraceae) native to boreal Europe and Asia, and now naturalized in North America also; elf dock; scabwort. It frequently grows in loam at the edge of woods, easily reaching 1.5m in height, and bearing multiple large bright yellow capitula at its apex. Its rhizome has a variety of uses in medicine and also as a confection. [ME < Med.L enula (< L inula < Gk. helenion ἑλένιον) + L campana of the fields]

elephant ears or elephant’s ear n. 1 any representative of the genera Alocasia (Schott) G.Don and Colocasia Schott (both of the Araceae), annual tropical geophytes of southeast Asia and Polynesia bearing large cordate leaves upon ascending petioles, often cultivated as ornamentals. 2 any of certain cultivars of the genus Begonia L. (of the Begoniaceae), slightly succulent herbs native to moist habitats in South America, Africa, and southern Asia, which bear especially large and showy reniform leaves somewhat resembling the ear shape of an elephant.

elf dock n. elecampane; scabwort.

elfin forest n. a forest of trees dwarfed by growing at high elevation on humid tropical cloud forest mountain ridges, exposed to constant cold winds, and supporting a dense community of mosses and other epiphytes upon their branches; krummholz.

em·bed (em bed´) v. em·bed·ded, em·bed·ding. 1 plant (an organism) firmly and securely in a bed of soil or other rooting context, usually among others. 2 in histology, fix a microscopic specimen by use of paraffin or plastic, so that it may be sliced in a microtome. 3 surround closely, as other species in a community, or geological outcroppings, may surround a plant.

em·par·a·dise (em pãr´ə dīs) v.t. improve a landscape, garden, or terrain lacking in variety or colour by cultivation of exotic or non-endemic species, such that the resulting combination is regarded as of delightful beauty. [< ME em- to cause to be (< OF < L in-) + paradise (< OF paradis < L paradīsus < Gk. paradeisos παράδεισος < Avestan pairidaēza παιριδαηζα enclosed area, park)]

en·dan·gered (en dān´jėrd) adj. 1 of a species or other taxon, at risk of extinction in the near term. 2 of a species or community, threatened with a defined danger.

en·do·per·ine (en´dō pãr ēn´) n. in ferns of suborder Hydropteridineae Rothwell & Stockey, a distinct layer to the outer megaspore cell wall which is external to the exine, but internal to the exoperine. [NL < Gk. endon ἐνδόν within + peri- περί- near, around + L -inus of or pertaining to; assimilated to exine, intine]

en·do·sper·mous (en´də spėr´məs) adj. pertaining to – or containing – endosperm. [< F endosperme (< Gk. endon ἐνδόν within + sperma σπέρμα seed) + L -ōsus pertaining to, prone to]

e·phem·er·al (i fem´ėr əl) n. adj. —n. an annual plant or other life form which germinates in response to periodic phenomena, such as desert rainfall, and then rapidly completes its lifecycle in the usually short period of suitable conditions following. —adj. of an organism, short-lived and/or transient. [< Gk. ephḗmeros ἐφήμερος lasting but a day + -al -αλ adjectival suffix] —e·phem´er·al´i·ty, n. —e·phem´er·al·ly, adv.

ep·i·chile (ep´ē kīl´) n. the outer portion of the lip of helleborine orchids, where the lip is divided into 2 distinct portions, as well as often being cleft. [< Gk. epi ἐπὶ on, upon + cheilos χεῖλος margin, lip]

ep·i·gy·nous (ep´ē gī´nəs or i pij´ə nəs) adj. 1 of flowers, having all floral parts basally fused and generally divergent from the ovary at or near its summit. 2 of stamens, petals, etc., having the parts so arranged. [< Gk. epi ἐπὶ on, upon + gynē γυνή woman + L -ōsus augmented, prone to] —ep´i·gy´ny (-nē), n.

ep·i·nas·ty (ep´i nas´tē) n. a response of plant organs to lateral growth, in which the cells of the superior surface grow more quickly and cause the organ to bend downward. [NL < Gk. epi ἐπὶ on, upon + nastos ναστός pressed + -ikos -ικος ability] —ep´i·nas´tic, adj.

ep·i·pet·al·ous (ep´ē pet´əl əs) adj. of stamens, being fused to a petal or borne upon a filament deriving from a petal. [NL < Gk. epi ἐπὶ on, upon + petalon πέταλον petal + L -ōsus augmented, prone to]

ep·i·phragm (ep´ē fram´) n. a membrane present in certain mosses, which covers the mouth of the spore capsule where the peristome teeth are short. [NL < Gk. epíphragma ἐπίφραγμα covering, lid < epi ἐπὶ upon + phrágma φράγμα fence] —ep´i·phrag´mal, adj.

ep·i·phyl·lous (ep´ē fil´əs) adj. 1 of flowers, emerging from the leaf, rather than the more usual site of a leaf axil, a plant axis, or its inflorescence. This is characteristic of certain species of the genus Erythrochiton Nees & Mart. (of the Rutaceae), native to South America. 2 of an epiphyte, growing on, or attached upon, the surface of a leaf. [NL < Gk. epi ἐπὶ upon + phýllon φύλλον leaf + L -osus full of, prone to] —ep´i·phyll´, n.

ep·i·sep·al·ous (ep´ē sep´əl əs) adj. of stamens, being fused to a sepal or borne upon a filament deriving from a sepal. [NL < Gk. epi ἐπὶ on, upon + NL sepalum sepal + L -ōsus augmented, prone to]

ep·i·type (ep´ē tīp´) n. a specimen used as the basis for a revised or clarified published description of a taxon, and designated as the type specimen; type. An epitype is only used when the original type specimen and description both are inadequate to confidently discern the taxon. [< Gk. epi ἐπὶ upon + typos τύπος an impression, image, type] —ep´i·typ´ic, adj.

es·sence (es´əns) n. 1 a scent, as of a flower. 2 a chemical extract of a plant or other organism, obtained by distillation or infusion. 3 the characteristic nature of an organism; a property or group of properties. [< ME essencia < OF < L essentia substance, actuality] —es·sen´tial, adj.

ev·er·las·ting (ev´ėr las´ting) n. any of various flowering plants (usually herbs) which are capable of maintaining their shape or colour (or, presumably, both) when dried and placed on display. These often form a useful adjunct to the arrangements prepared by florists. Examples include: the cat’s-foot, Gnaphalium L., Helichrysum Mill., Helipterum DC. ex Lindl., and Inula L. (all of the Asteraceae), and the immortelles.

ex (eks) prep. in nomenclature, indicating a succeeding authority who – while not responsible for correctly publishing a taxon – was mentioned as being responsible for its identification. [L from, according to]

ex·cel·si·or (ek sel´sē ōr) n. fine shavings of softwood, used to pack fragile objects or to stuff furniture. [< L excelsior higher; deriving from a brand name]

ex·cur·rent (eks kėr´ənt) adj. of leaf veins, extending to protruding points along the margin of a leaf. [< L excurrentis running beyond]

ex·o·per·ine (ek´sō pãr ēn´) n. in ferns of suborder Hydropteridineae Rothwell & Stockey, a distinct layer to the outer megaspore cell wall which is external to the exine, as well as the endoperine. It often bears abundant hairs comprising the filosum. [NL < Gk. endon withinexō ἔχω outside + peri- περί- near, around + L -inus of or pertaining to; assimilated to exine, intine]

ex·trac·tion (ek´strac´shən) n. 1 the removal and harvesting of bark (cork) from trees. This is done in such a way as to prevent damage or death to the trees, which are cultivated for this purpose. 2 any instance or act of removal or withdrawal. [ME < OF < LL extractionis < L extrahere draw out] —ex·tract´, v.t.

ex·trac·tor (ek´strac´tər) n. one who harvests a material (usually cork) from living plants. [< LL extractionis extraction + AF -or (< L -tor agent)]

eye (ī) n. 1 an organ for light detection and reception of visual signals, rare in the plant kingdom but present in such unicellular photosynthetic genera as Chlamydomonas Ehrenb. (of divisio Chlorophyta) and Euglena Ehrenb. (of the animal phylum Euglenozoa); eyespot; stigma. 2 a round dark spot upon a rhizome such as a potato, from which stems or roots may grow; bud. 3 a mark or scar upon a seed at the point of attachment to the funiculus and seed vessel (particularly used of seeds within familia Fabaceae); hilum. 4 the centre of a flower, especially when of a colour distinctively different than the outer portion of petals and other tissues. [< OE ēage]

eye·spot´spät´) n. 1 stigma. 2 eye. 3 a portion of distinctively-coloured tissue suggesting an eye. 4 a fungal disease known to infect cultivated grasses (Pseudocercosporella herpotrichoides (Fron) Deighton, of subdivisio Deuteromycotina), and which causes rounded yellowish marks upon the leaves and stems.

ey·ot´ət) n. a small island, especially in a river; ait. [< ME eyt island + F -ot dim. suffix < OE ȳgett, igeoð dim. of ieg island, cf. Sw. ö, ON ey]