SALAD VEGETABLES: Those intended to be eaten raw in salads, e.g., lettuces, radishes and spring onions.
SAND: A substance consisting of small particles of broken mineral rock.
SAP: The liquid in plants (rather like plant’s blood) containing water, plant foods and substances such as hormones, which control the plant’s growth and development.
SAPROPHYTE: A plant or animal living directly on dead and decaying matter for feeding purposes, such as some fungi.
SCION: The part joined on to the rootstock when a graft is made.
SEED: A structure designed for sexual reproduction. A seed is formed when a male cell in pollen combines with a female ovule. A seed is really an embryo plant capsule with enough stored food for nourishment during germination until the resultant seedling is capable of absorbing food itself through its roots.
SEED BED: A finely cultivated area of ground into which seed may be sown.
SEED COMPOST: A fine grade of compost suitable for sowing seed into.
SEED DRESSING: A coating of chemicals designed to control any pest or disease which might affect the seed or the resultant young seedlings.
SEEDLING: A baby plant grown from a seed.
SEED TRAY: A flattish receptacle in which seed can be sown in compost, sometimes referred to as a seed pan.
SEPALS: The leaf-like outermost parts of a flower, collectively known as the calyx.
SET: Specially selected or treated parts of a plant, capable of being grown on into a crop, e.g., onion sets. A flower which is beginning to develop fruit or seed after fertilization is also said to have ‘set’.
SHADING: Providing means of partially obscuring sunlight, often under glass.
SHOOTS: New vertical growths in plants.
SILT: A soil comprised of very tiny particles of broken mineral rock.
SOIL: The upper layer of earth which supports higher plant life. This consists of disintegrated rock, organic matter and beneficial organisms including bacteria.
SOUR SOIL: An acid soil in which the balance between plant remains and organisms has become out of order. SOW To scatter or otherwise introduce seed into the earth or purpose-made compost in order to raise plants.
SPECIES: A group of plants resembling each other in all but minor details and which can interbreed easily and successfully.
SPECIMEN: A plant specially selected for individual display.
SPHAGNUM: A type of coarse moss which when it decays in a certain way under wet conditions forms sphagnum moss peat.
SPIKING: To introduce air into compacted soil with a sharp, spiked tool such as a fork or other gadget with spikes on it.
SPIT: The depth of a standard spade or fork in soil.
SPRAY: Several flowers grouped on a single stem. This word is also used to denote the spreading of fine droplets of a liquid over the surface of a plant by means of a device known as a sprayer.
SPROUT: A new shoot, or the production of this shoot.
SPUR: A cluster of buds on a fruit tree which will open to form flowers.
STAKE: A straight support introduced at the side of a plant to keep it straight and prevent it from falling or blowing over.
STALK: A stem-like growth supporting leaves or flowers.
STAMENS: The male organs of a flower.
STANDARD PLANT: One trained to grow on a single stem for a certain height, and then pruned to form a head of stems or branches.
STEM: The part of a plant which has buds from which can grow flowers, side-shoots or leaves.
STIGMA: The part of the female organ of a flower that collects the pollen.
STOCK: See rootstock.
STOCK PLANT: One kept to provide material for the propagation of new plants.
STOLON: A stem that can produce new roots and shoots at its tip, as, e.g., the blackberry does.
STOMATES: The pores through which a plant breathes, usually found on leaves, mainly on the underside, but occasionally on the stem as well.
STONE FRUITS: Those like plums, which contain a hard stone (the technical term for these fruits is drupe).
STOOL: The term for both the crown of plants (e.g., chrysanthemum) lifted annually and used for propagation, and for shrubs or trees pruned down to ground level every year and so kept as a cluster of young stems. In the latter case, stooling is done either to provide young stems for propagation, or because the young stems (and perhaps their leaves) are the decorative feature for which the plant is grown.
STOPPING: The removal of a growing tip to encourage the production of Side-shoots.
STRIKE: To take a cutting of a plant, which is said to have struck when it has started to produce roots.
STYLE: The part of the female organ of a flower which conducts the male cells in pollen to the ovary.
SUBSOIL: The infertile layer of soil below the topsoil, lacking in humus and plant nutrients.
SUCKER: A shoot arising from the rootstock of a budded or grafted plant, which must be removed to preserve the desired habit. A sucker is also a secondary growth developing from an underground bud, by which many plants produce natural thickets.
SYSTEMIC: A substance capable of being absorbed into a plant’s tissue.