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A Grammatical Dictionary of Botanical Latin

Embryo, a thing at a rudimentary or initial stage that shows potential for development; “the rudimentary plant, engendered within a seed by the action of pollen” (Lindley); “the rudimentary plant formed in a seed or within the archegonium of Cryptogams” (Jackson); “the rudimentary plantlet within the seed” (Fernald 1950); (in bryophytes) “the developing sporophyte phase normally generated from a zygote; in most bryophytes it consists of capsule, seta and foot initials” (Magill 1990); also used as a synonym of the early fetus, q.v.; embryo,-onis (s.n.III), abl. sg. embryone, nom. & acc. pl. embryones, dat. & abl. pl. embryonibus [> Gk. embryon, a foetus (Jackson); embrYon (s.n.II), en + BryO;, a young one; an embryo, = Lat. foetus (Liddell & Scott)]; see fetus,-us (s.m.IV);

Embryo: (archaic) a human or other animal offspring at any stage of development prior to birth or hatching as a young individual fundamentally similar to the adult” (WIII); “the young sporophyte of a seed plant, resulting from union of the egg and one of the two sperm nuclei, sometimes consisting of only a few cells (as in orchids) but usu. comprising a rudimentary plant with plumule, radicle and cotyledons, and typically embedded in endosperm that provides nutriment for the developing plant upon germination” (WIII).

NOTE: "The form embryum, to be expected from Gk. [embryon (s.n.)] has been rarely if ever used;" (Stearn 1983).


- Embryon ex endopleurae figura hippocrepicoronatum (F. Mueller), the embryo, from the shape of the endopleura, is horse-shoe-crowned.

- Embryon in axi albuminis subfarinosi rectum (F. Mueller), the embryo in the axis of the somewhat farinose albumen straight.

- cotyledonibus embryonis interioribus biplicatis, with the inner cotyledons of the embryo biplicate.


- embryo in albumine carnoso saepius parvus v. minimus (B&H), embryo in a fleshy albumen very often small or extremely so.

- embryo ratione albuminis longior in Menispermaceis pluribus et in generibus paucis aliorum Ordinum (B&H), embryo in relation to the albumin longer in many Menispermaceae and in a few genera of other Orders.

- embryo minutus bifurcatus, cotyledonibus undulatis, plumula distincta, radicula elongata, embryo minute bifurcate, with cotyledons undulate, plumule distinct, radicle elongate (Stearn).

- embryo in albumine carnoso periphericus linearis curvus vel spiraliter tortus (haud rectus) indivisus, cotyledonibus inconspicuis, embryo within fleshy endosperm peripheral linear curved or spirally twisted (not straight), with cotyledons inconspicuous (Stearn).

- embryo cyclicus v. excentricus (B&H), embryo coiled into a circle or off-center.

- embryo nunc rectus, cotyledonibus latis foliaceis conduplicatis albumen longitudinaliter involvens radicula brevi infera, nunc incurvus, cotyledonibus incumbentibus convolutis albumen involventibus, vel cotyledonibus angustis albumini applicitis, radicula elongata extraris infera, embryo straight, with the cotyledons broad leafy conduplicate the albumen lengthwise enveloping (i.e. the embryo covering the albumen with its cotyledons), or with the cotyledons narrow applied to the albumen, with the radicle elongated external lower (Stearn).

- embryonis radicula ab hilo remota (B&H), the radicula of the embryo remote from the hilum.

- embryonis exalbuminosi cotyledones circinatim convolutae, of the exalbuminous embryo the cotyledons coiled from the tip (Stearn).

- embryo juxta hilum albumine semiimmersus v. exalbuminosus (B&H), the embryo semiimmersed in the albumen next to the hilum or without albumen.

- species structura embryonis plane diversa, species by the structure of the embryo clearly different (Stearn).

- seminis albumen copiosum, embryone dimidio breviore (B&H), the albumen of the seeds copious, with the embryo shorter than half [of it].

- species habitu praecedentis sed embryone diversa, species with the habit of the preceding but by the embryo different (Stearn).

- embryo rectus, cotyledonibus crassiusculis subplanis ellipticisque v. angustis semiteretibus, radícula supera brevi v. cotyledonibus aequilonga (B&H), the embryo straight, with the cotyledons somewhat thicker, almost flat and elliptic or narrow, half-rounded, with the radicle above short or with the same length as the cotyedons.

- embryo minutus bifurcatus, cotyledonibus undulatis, plumula distincta, radicula elongata, embryo minute bifurcate, with cotyledons undulate, plumule distinct, radicle elongate (Stearn).

Cor seminis (gen.sg. semen), abl. sg. corde seminis: “the embryo” (Lindley).

Corculum,-i (s.n.II), abl. sg. corculo: plumule; “the embryo” (Lindley).

Embryo cell = oosphere (Jackson): oosphaera,-ae (s.f.I).

Embryo sac: “the cell in the ovule in which the embryo is formed, also by some termed the macrospore” (Jackson); megaspore (more correct than macrospore), “the embryo-sac in Phanerogams” (Jackson): megaspora,-ae (s.f.I).

Germen,-inis (s.n.III), abl.sg. germine, nom. & acc. pl. germina: a bud; off-shoot, sprout; embryo; seed; offspring.

Germination: “the first act of growth by an embryo plant, connected with the absorption of oxygen and the extrication of carbonic acid. Germination ceases when the latter begins to be decomposed” (Lindley) [> L. germinatio,-onis (s.f.III), “a sprouting forth, budding, germination; a sprout, shoot” (Lewis & Short)].

pleurorhizal: "when an embryo has its radicle against one edge of the cotyledons, which are then accumbent" (Jackson); see accumbens,-entis (part.B); see notorhizal.

Proembryo,-onis (s.m.III), abl. sg. proembryone, nom. & acc. pl. proembryones, dat. & abl. pl. proembryonibus: proembryo “the reproductive part of a spore. The youngest thallus of a Lichen” (Lindley).
Embryo sac: “the female gametophyte of a seed plant consisting of a thin-walled sac within the nucellus that typically develops from a single functional megaspore and contains several meiotically reduced nuclei which lack separating cell walls and which include the egg nucleus and others that give rise to endosperm on fertilization” (WIII): sacculus (s.m.II) embryonalis (adj.B), abl. sg. sacculo embryonale;

- [Braun; algae] satis cognitum est, primum, quod oritur, plantae nascentis germen et fundamentum corpus esse uniforme et indifferens, externae formae aeque ac interni contextus differentiis fere nullis, quod adparet apud plantas phanerogamas formatione sacculi embryonalis (*) denique in endospermii corpus mutati, cui apud cryptogamas vasculares proembryon sive prothallium respondet (Braun), it is sufficiently well known, that the first thing that arises [i.e. comes to be] of the nascent plant to be the embryo, and the foundation [i.e. ground-work] to be a body uniform and undifferentiated, and the flesh [i.e. the tissue] of the outer form is to be the same as the internal, with almost no distinctions, which is evident among phanerogamous plants with the formation of the embryonal sac, and finally in the body of the transformed endosperm, to which among vascular cryptogams the proembryo or the prothallium corresponds.

Embryo sac: “the cell in the ovule in which the embryo is formed, also by some termed the macrospore” (Jackson); megaspore (more correct than macrospore), “the embryo-sac in Phanerogams” (Jackson): megaspora,-ae (s.f.I).


A work in progress, presently with preliminary A through R, and S, and with S (in part) through Z essentially completed.
Copyright © P. M. Eckel 2010-2017

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