va·gile (va´jīl) adj. endowed with or exercising freedom of movement. [< L vagus wandering + -ilis capability]  —va·gil´i·ty, n.

va·le·ri·an (və lē´rē ən) n. adj. —n. 1 an herb (any species of Valeriana L., of the Valerianaceae), largely native to Europe and Asia, but also present in the Americas, and bearing compound leaves and compact cymose inflorescences. 2 the garden valerian (V. officinalis L. & Maillefer), containing a number of active compounds such as alkaloids and sesquiterpenes, sometimes used for medicinal purposes. It is noted to be an attractant to many animals and also to slime moulds. 3 the medicinal preparation of this plant, mainly derived from the taproot. —adj. of or pertaining to the valerian. [< L an adjectival derivative of the proper name Valerius]

val·lec·u·la (və lek´ū lə) n. -læ. an oblong furrow or linear depression. [LL < L valle valley + -cula diminutive] —val·lec´u·lar, adj.

vallecular canal n. any of the longitudinal stem canals (containing moist air) which lie beneath the stem furrows (valleculæ) of species of Equisetum L., as well as those of other extinct genera of divisio Arthrophyta.

var·i·e·ga·tion (vär´ē ə gā´shən) n. 1 a blended clustered pattern of two or more distinct colours in the tissues of an organism. 2 a blended clustered pattern of species (almost always of different colours) in a habitat; mosaic. [< L variegare variegate] —var´i·e·ga´ted, adj.

veg·e·tar·i·an (vej´ə tãr´ē ən) n. adj. —n. 1 one who, or that which, nourishes themself by a diet consisting largely of vegetable matter. 2 one who, or that which, nourishes themself by a diet which avoids intake of meat of any kind. —adj. of or pertaining to a vegetarian diet. [< E vegetable + -arian, irregularly adopted from agrarian] —veg´e·tar´i·an·ism, n.

vegetative eunuch n. any plant which completes an entire life and dies without producing a propagule of any kind.

ve·gete (ve jēt´) adj. of plants: healthy, vigourous, quick, growing strongly. [< L veget- plant, vegetable] —ve·gete´ness, n.

veg·e·ti·vor·ous (vej´e tiv´ər əs) adj. 1 feeding upon vegetables (sensu stricta). 2 herbivorous. [irregular, < L veget- plant, vegetable; upon pattern of herbivorous]

veg·e·to- (vej´ə tō) comb.form., prefix. 1 vegetable and… 2 having a plant origin. [NL < Med.L vegetālis of plants < L veget- plant, vegetable]

veg·gies (vej´ēz) Slang. vegetables, as a general category of grocery, or as a food item.

veld or veldt (velt) n. open, uncultivated countryside of southern Africa, typically a habitat for grasses, shrubs, and only occasional trees. It can occur at various altitudes. [< Afrikaans < Du. veldt field]

ver·der·er (vėr´də rėr) n. Brit. formerly, a judicial officer in charge of the “vert” (trees and undergrowth) of a royal forest, as well as in providing law there. [< AF < OF verdier < L viridārius < viridis green + -ārius a person employed and contributing to] —ver´der·er·ship, n.

ver·ru·cu·lose (vãr ü´kū lōs´) adj. bearing tiny wart-like projections. [< L verrūcula small wart + -osus prone to]

vert (vėrt) n. adj —n. 1 formerly in English forest law, verdure which allows cover for deer. 2 again formerly in English forest law, the right to cut such vegetation. 3 in heraldry, the colour (tincture) green. —adj. in heraldry, coloured green. [< ME verte < AF verd, vert < L viridis green]

vertical forest n. either of a pair of high-rise residential buildings in Milan, which are designed to sustain trees on strengthened terraces all the way up the external faces of the building. [< Ital. bosco verticale, conceived by architect Stefano Boeri]

ver·vain (vėr´vān´) n. an herb native to Mediterranean Europe (Verbena officinalis L., of the Verbenaceae), bearing spikes of tiny blue, white, or purple tubulous flowers with stamens adnate to the corolla tube. [ME < OF verveine < L verbena sacred bough, used of a range of herbal ingredients in medicine or magic]

ves·ti·ture (ves´ti chür) n. that which clothes or covers; can be used as a collective term to comprise hairs or other outgrowths from the epidermis of a plant, including inorganic formations such as cystoliths; vestment; vesture. [< med.L vestitura < L vestire clothe]

vest·ment (vest´mənt) n. fig. clothing, raiment; vestiture; vesture: the verdure that is generally the beauteous vestment of all vegetables. This may be used as a descriptive synonym for epidermis or exocarp. [< OF vestement < L vestimentum clothes, garment]

ves·ture (ves´chür) n. fig. clothing, raiment, vestment; vestiture. [< OF < vestir clothe, vest]

vet·i·ver (vet´i vėr or -və) n. 1 a perennial grass (Andropogon zizanioides (L.) Urb., of the Poaceae), native to the east Indies but now much planted in Africa and other tropical locales, bearing aromatic fibrous roots and stiff linear leaves; khus-khus. 2 the aromatic roots of this plant, used to fashion hangings, screens, and mats, and providing an essential oil. 3 the aromatic oil of this plant, used in perfumery. [< F vétiver < Tamil veṭṭivẽru]

vi·car·i·ance (vī cãr´ē əns) n. the geographical separation of biotas, likely through such long term means as continental drift or orogeny, resulting in pairs of similar but disjunct species. [< L vicarius substitute + -antia a state or an instance of one]

vi·car·i·ant (vī cãr´ē ənt) n. 1 a biota which shares genera with other regions disjunct from it, likely through such long term means as continental drift or orogeny. Through the existence of physical barriers, these taxa have diverged and now comprise distinct species. 2 an organism which has similar but disjunct congeners through this means.

vil·los·i·ty (vil os´i tē) n. 1 the state of being villose or villous. 2 the degree or density to which a plant bears villi. 3 several villi which emerge in close proximity. [< F villosité < L villōsitās < villōsus shaggy + -itas noun suffix]

vir·i·des·cent (vēr´ə des´ənt) adj. 1 greenish, of a green colour. 2 becoming green; virescent. [< LL viridescere become green] —vir´i·des´cence, n.

vis·cid·i·um (vis id´ē əm) n. -i·a. in orchid flowers, a viscid location upon the rostellum, serving to attach pollinia to insect vectors, and detaching with the pollinia in the process by means of a caudicula or stipe. [< L viscidus sticky + NL -ium locative suffix]

vit·ta (vit´ə) n. -tæ. 1 a tubular cavity for oil or resin, located in many fruits of familia Apiaceae. 2 a streak or stripe of a contrasting colour; stria.[< L vitta band, chaplet]

vol·un·teer (väl´ən tēr´) n. v.i. —n. a plant which sprouts and grows without being deliberately planted – usually used of ruderals in a cultivated field or garden. Such plants may be cultivated, rather than being extirpated as weeds. —v.i. of a plant, sprouting or growing in this fashion. [< F volontaire voluntary]