in·​flo·​res·​cence ˌin-flə-ˈre-sᵊn(t)s How to pronounce inflorescence (audio)
: the mode of development and arrangement of flowers on an axis
: a floral axis with its appendages
also : a flower cluster
: the budding and unfolding of blossoms : flowering

Illustration of inflorescence

Illustration of inflorescence
  • 1 raceme
  • 2 corymb
  • 3 umbel
  • 4 compound umbel
  • 5 capitulum
  • 6 spike
  • 7 compound spike
  • 8 panicle
  • 9 cyme

Examples of inflorescence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The structures that look like mushrooms are instead inflorescences, or a cluster of flowers intricately arranged on a stem. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 21 Sep. 2023 Flowers with four petals are borne on terminal inflorescences and lack bracts. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 28 Aug. 2023 Curiosity was high for the pungent plant, which grew a reputation for being the world’s largest flower (although that’s not entirely true — the corpse flower is actually the largest unbranched inflorescence). Cari Spencer, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 Among a very limited group of African species that can grow outside in mid-latitude gardens, the pokers offer striking, architectural foliage with erect spikes of flowers in a range of colors from yellow to orange, red and even some with multiple colors on the same inflorescence. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 3 Sep. 2021 Keep an eye out for this inflorescence. oregonlive, 4 July 2021 The stalk, which can reach 20 feet tall, is topped by a giant, candelabra-like inflorescence with numerous flower clusters bearing countless small, bright yellow blooms that produce large quantities of sweet nectar at night. Janet Marinelli, Wired, 19 Feb. 2022 Phelps was thoroughly scientific about education — her botany text explains inflorescence, the classification of trillium, and the theory of metamorphoses of the organs of plants — but nature also inspired her. Washington Post, 27 Dec. 2021 Gradually, the inflorescence shatters and the plant produces new foliage. Tom MacCubbin,, 28 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inflorescence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin inflorescentia, from Late Latin inflorescent-, inflorescens, present participle of inflorescere to begin to bloom, from Latin in- + florescere to begin to bloom — more at florescence

First Known Use

1760, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of inflorescence was in 1760

Dictionary Entries Near inflorescence

Cite this Entry

“Inflorescence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​flo·​res·​cence ˌin-flə-ˈres-ᵊn(t)s How to pronounce inflorescence (audio)
: the pattern of development and arrangement of flowers on a stalk
: a flowering stalk with all its parts
also : a flower cluster or sometimes a flower that grows alone
: the forming and unfolding of blossoms

More from Merriam-Webster on inflorescence

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