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Inflorescence, arrangement of flowers on the stem of a plant. Tulips and anemones, among other plants, carry single flowers at the tops of their stems. Most plants, however, carry their flowers in clusters called inflorescences. This is especially true of those species whose individual flowers are small. The inflorescence is thought to be more attractive to pollinating insects than a single flower would be. The commonest type of inflorescence is the raceme, in which numerous flowers are borne on one or more sides of the main stem. The oldest flowers are always at the bottom. The individual flowers normally have short stalks. If they are stalkless the inflorescence is often called a spike. The foxglove is a typical raceme. In the corymb the individual flower stalks on the lower part of the stem are longer than those higher up. The result is that all the flowers are brought to more or less the same level and make a conspicuous display. In the umbel, which looks similar to the corymb, the main stem stops growing after a while and all the flower stalks come from one point. The oldest flowers are on the outside. Umbels are characteristic of the carrot family. The cyme is an inflorescence in which the main stem produces only 1 or 2 side snoots before ending in a flower. Each of the side shoots then does the same. Where 2 branches are formed each time, there is a continued forking of the stem, with a flower in the center of each fork. There are several other kinds of inflorescence. The dandelion or daisy head, for example, is a very condensed inflorescence called a capitulum. Very often the flowering shoot will produce several branches, and each branch may then form a raceme, a corymb, or an umbel. Branched inflorescences of this kind are called panicles.

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21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Inert gas to Jaruzelski, Wojciech