Inflorescence examples – Racemose

Racemose inflorescences result from monopodial growth. Six examples are shown here. Numbers indicate the order in which the flowers are added as the inflorescence grows. Raceme (lupin) is the basic racemose structure. Spike (verbascum) is a raceme but with sessile (no stem) flowers. Panicle (privet) is a raceme with a branched racemic stem at each node. Corymb (whitebeam) is a raceme with different length flower stems. Umbel (hogweed) is a raceme with all flower stems from the same point but with different lengths to give a flat flower head. This is one of the secondary umbels of the Hogweed. Capitulum (dandelion) is a flattened raceme found in many plants of the Aster family. Click on any photo to enlarge it.


lupin raceme inflorescence
verbascum spike inflorescence
privet panicle inflorescence
whitebeam corymb inflorescence
hogweed umbel inflorescence
dandelion capitulum inflorescence

Inflorescence examples – Cymose

Some examples of Cymose inflorescences are shown here. The first two are monochasial (one flower at each node) in the form of scorpioid cymes. The first is  Wood Forget-me-not and the  second Russian ComfreyThe third (Snow-in summer) and fourth (Stitchwort) are  dichasial  (two flowers at each node). A compound cyme is one in which there is an initial branch and then one or more branches.

forget-me-not scorpioid cyme
scorpioid cyme
comfrey scorpioid cyme
snow-in summer monochasial cyme
dichasial cyme
stitchwort dichasial compound cyme
dichasial compound cyme

Inflorescence – a botanical term for a flower cluster that includes the flowers, pedicels and peduncle. There are a number of types of inflorescence and these are described here. Flowers may be arranged close together in a flat head (capitulum, head, umbel or corymb) which offers a perfect landing site for a wide range of pollinators or may be in an upright  or hanging column (raceme, spike, panicle) that makes the pollinator move up or down to access each flower. In vertical inflorescences flowers at the top may be in the male phase and flowers at the bottom in the female phase. Bees access flowers in the Willowherb from bottom to top so arrive with fresh pollen at the female flowers and pick up pollen from the top male flowers before leaving. So the plant presents the  flowers in space and time.