I love when I know the exact word to describe something, whether that “something” is an emotion, a color, taste, or plant part. To help you feel more confident in the words of the botanical world, I’m starting this Botanical Alphabet series. It may or may not be published in exact alphabetical order.
dentate: having outward (opposed to upward, as in serrate) pointing teeth along the margin (or edge) of a leaf
Botanists use a lot of jargon; specific words to describe everything about a plant. I can think of at least a handful of terms, and I’m sure there are more, that are used to describe the edges of leaves alone. Knowing these descriptors comes in handy, though, like when you’re trying to key out a plant. But when you start seeing these descriptors in the scientific names of plants? Then you can feel like a total plant rock star by knowing something about the plant without ever having seen it! For instance, you’ll find derivatives of the word dentate in Acer grandidentatum (bigtooth maple), Euphorbia dentate (toothed spurge), and Artemesia tridentata (big sagebrush). And, as you might have guessed, they are all toothed!