Clavate, when describing succulents, refers to stems or leaves that are club-shaped.
Some key details:
- Form/Shape: Clavate stems and leaves are thickened or swollen at one end, tapering to a point at the other end, resembling the shape of a club.
- Examples: Many agave and aloe species have clavate leaves – thick at the base and tapering to a sharp tip. Sansevieria cylindrica has cylindrical, clavate stems.
- Etymology: The word comes from the Latin “clava” meaning club, in reference to the club-like shape.
- Other Uses: In biology, clavate can describe any structure that is roughly shaped like a club, such as mushroom caps or bacterial spores.
- In Succulents: This morphological term is especially used when describing the peculiar leaf or stem shapes found in certain succulent genera that evolved to be thickened at one end for water storage.
So in summary, when referring to succulents, clavate describes a stem or leaf that is club-shaped, thick at one end and tapering to a point, pronounced as KLAH-vayt. It relates to their evolution of water-storing tissues.