Botanical Nerd Word: Etiolated

A potted scented geranium showing elongated, spindly growth.

Etiolated: Of a plant or plant part: in a state of etiolation; esp. weakened and abnormally pale as a result of being grown in darkness or reduced light.*

This scented geranium is growing in a north-facing window where it doesn’t receive enough sunlight. The stems have become long and spindly as the plant tries to extend its leaves into a brighter area. The leaves are also pale from reduced chlorophyll production. This process is a survival tactic known as etiolation – something to watch out for as you move your plants inside for the winter!

*OED Online. September 2016. Oxford University Press.