Inflorescence Types

This page is from the Northern Ontario Plant Database website.


inflorescence types1
  • Spike - an elongate, unbranched, indeterminate inflorescence with sessile flowers.
  • Spikelet - a small spike, characteristic of grasses and sedges.
  • Raceme - an elongate, unbranched, indeterminate inflorescence with pedicelled flowers.
  • Panicle - a branched raceme.
  • Corymb - a flat-topped raceme with elongate pedicels reaching the same level.
  • Compound Corymb - a branched corymb.
  • Umbel - a flat-topped or rounded inflorescence with the pedicels originating from a common point. Umbels can be determinate or indeterminate.
  • Compound Umbel - a branched umbel, with primary rays arising from a common point, and    secondary umbels arising from the tip of the primary rays.
  • Capitulum (or head) - a dense vertically compressed inflorescence with sessile flowers on a receptacle and subtended by an involucre of phyllaries, characteristic of the Asteraceae. Heads can be determinate or indeterminate.
  • Thyrse - a many-flowered inflorescence with an indeterminate central axis and many opposite, lateral dichasia; a mixed inflorescence, with determinate and indeterminate shoots.


inflorescence types2
  • Simple Cyme or Dichasium - a determinate inflorescence with 2 dichotomous lateral branches and pedicles of equal length.
  • Compound Dichasium - a branched dichasium
  • Compound Cyme - a determinate thyrse.
  • Helicoid Cyme (or bostryx) - a determinate cyme in which the branches develop only on 1 side, due to the abortion of opposing paired bud, the inflorescence thus appearing simple.
  • Cincinnus - a tight, modified helicoid cyme in which the pedicels are very short.
  • Scorpioid Cyme (or rhipidium) - a zig-zag determinate cyme with branches developing alternately    on opposite sides of the rachis, due to abortion of opposing paired bud.

© Tom Lebsack 2019