In plant terminology, a rosette is a cluster of basal leaves emerging from a point near the ground. Instead of being spaced along a stem, a plant with a rosette form will have a thick cluster of leaves on the ground, arranged somewhat like that of the petals in a rose. A good example of a rosette plant is a head of lettuce.

Since it takes little energy to grow as a rosette, plants will often use this form to store energy in harsh environments or disturbed areas. Since being compact and low to the ground conserves water, plants in dry areas also often have this form. And rosette plants can often avoid predation by herbivores, either by staying out of view, or with a few well-placed spines.

Obviously, a plant must eventually produce flowers to reproduce itself, so a rosette plant will usually have to expand past its basal leaves to survive. Some plants, such as cabbage and many common weeds, 'bolt' into a more upright form before flowering. Other plants, such as 'cliff lettuce' and many other succulents, will send up spikes of flowers above the rosette of leaves.

Ro*sette (?), n. [F., dim. of rose a rose. Cf. Roset.]

1.

An imitation of a rose by means of ribbon or other material, -- used as an ornament or a badge.

2. Arch.

An ornament in the form of a rose or roundel, -much used in decoration.

3.

A red color. See Roset.

4.

A rose burner. See under Rose.

5. Zool. (a)

Any structure having a flowerlike form; especially, the group of five broad ambulacra on the upper side of the spatangoid and clypeastroid sea urchins. See Illust. of Spicule, and Sand dollar, under Sand.

(b)

A flowerlike color marking; as, the rosettes on the leopard.

 

© Webster 1913.

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