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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Raceme \Ra*ceme"\ (r[.a]*s[=e]m"; 277), n. [L. racemus a bunch of berries, a cluster of grapes. See Raisin.] (Bot.) A flower cluster with an elongated axis and many one-flowered lateral pedicels, as in the currant and chokecherry.

Compound raceme, one having the lower pedicels developed into secondary racemes.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

type of flower cluster, 1785, from Latin racemus "a cluster of grapes" (see raisin). Related: Racemic; racemism.


n. (context botany English) An indeterminate inflorescence in which the flowers are arranged along a single central axis.


n. usually elongate cluster of flowers along the main stem in which the flowers at the base open first


__NOTOC__ A raceme ( or ) is an unbranched, indeterminate type of inflorescence bearing pedicellate flowers—flowers having short floral stalks called pedicels—along its axis. In botany, an axis means a shoot, in this case one bearing the flowers. In indeterminate inflorescence-like racemes, the oldest flowers are borne towards the base and new flowers are produced as the shoot grows, with no predetermined growth limit. A plant that flowers on a showy raceme may have this reflected in its scientific name, e.g. Cimicifuga racemosa. A compound raceme, also called a panicle, has a branching main axis. Examples of racemes occur on mustard (genus Brassica) and radish (genus Raphanus) plants.

A spike is an unbranched, indeterminate inflorescence, similar to a raceme, but bearing sessile flowers (sessile flowers are attached directly, without stalks). Examples occur on Malabar nut ( Justicia adhatoda) and chaff flowers (genus Achyranthes).

A spikelet can refer to a small spike, although it is primarily used to refer to the ultimate flower cluster unit in grasses ( family Poaceae) and sedges (family Cyperaceae), in which case the stalk supporting the cluster becomes the pedicel. A true spikelet comprises one or more florets enclosed by two glumes (sterile bracts), with flowers and glumes arranged in two opposite rows along the spikelet. Examples occur on rice (species Oryza sativa) and wheat (genus Triticum), both grasses.

An ament or catkin is very similar to a spike or raceme, "but with subtending bracts so conspicuous as to conceal the flowers until pollination, as in the pussy–willow, alder, [and] birch...". These are sometimes called amentaceous plants.

A spadix is a form of spike in which the florets are densely crowded along a fleshy axis, and enclosed by one or more large, brightly–colored bracts called spathes. Usually the female flowers grow at the base, and male flowers grow above. They are a characteristic of the Araceae family, for example jack–in–the–pulpit (species Arisaema triphyllum) and wild calla (genus Calla).

Usage examples of "raceme".

The floriferous character of the plant may be inferred from the fact that, after the raceme fades, there pushes from the axil a peduncle, which, in a short time, produces many other racemes.

Tended by eldin and much loved by the present queen, this magical place became a riot of color in the spring, when the hust trees bloomed in long white racemes that hung to the ground and all sorts of flowers burst from the ground to open crimson, gold, and pink petals.

In the cool room, the first one you enter from the vestibule, the Odontoglossums were sporting their sprays, and in the middle room, the tropical room, two benches of Phalaenopsis, the hardiest of all to grow well, were crowding the aisle with racemes two feet long, but at mossiae time the big show was in the third room.

From an arbor in the shrubbery, he pulled down a vine covered with white, sweet-smelling blooms and used this to tie the flowers into an enormous bouquet, wrapping their long stems with the ends of the vine, then tucking in a few delicate racemes of something pink for contrast.

It bears a sweet, edible fruit, somewhat like that of the Common Fig, but produced in racemes, on the older branches.

It is a tall, herbaceous plant, with feathery racemes of white blossoms, 1 to 3 feet long, which being slender, droop gracefully.

This involved a further outlay of money and was aimed simultaneously at the mental stability of the Misses Musgrove, and the physical ill-health of either, or both, depending on the degree of recrimi­nation they indulged in, Mr and Mrs Raceme.

Truster and Mr and Mrs Raceme, the Misses Musgrove were taken to the police car and driven off at high speed to be charged.

Impeded by the bed and driven insane by the pain he hurtled across the room in the general direction of her voice, smashed through the dressing-table behind which Mrs Raceme was sheltering and carrying all before him, dress­ing-table, bed, bedside lamp and teamaker, not to mention Mrs Raceme, shot through the curtains of the patio window, smashed the double glazing and cascaded down into the flowerbed below.