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Botanical Nerd Word: Spine

Spine: Sharp, pointed modified leaf, leaflet, bract, sepal, or stipule.*

These Berberis (barberry) spines are actually modified leaves. Botanically, they’re different from thorns or prickles which are derived from other plant parts.

*Pell, S.K., Angell, B. (2016). A botanist’s vocabulary: 1300 terms explained and illustrated. Portland: Timber Press.

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