Flowering lilac showing individual flowers forming the panicle.
White-fruited Rowan (Sorbus glabrescens) corymb: the branched structures holding the fruit.

A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers (and fruit) attached along the secondary branches; in other words, a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes.

This type of inflorescence is largely characteristic of grasses like oat and crabgrass,[1] as well as other plants such as pistachio and mamoncillo. Botanists use the term paniculate in two ways: "having a true panicle inflorescence" as well as "having an inflorescence with the form but not necessarily the structure of a panicle".

A corymb is similar to a panicle with the same branching structure, but with the lower flowers having longer stems, thus giving a flattish top superficially resembling an umbel. Many species in the Maloideae, such as hawthorns and rowans, produce their flowers in corymbs.

A thyrse is a compact panicle having an obscured main axis and cymose subaxes, making its paniculate nature hard to discern. Many Ceanothus species have thyrsiform inflorescences, notably Ceanothus thyrsiflorus.


  1. ^ Technically, the inflorescence unit in a grass is the spikelet, but the arrangement of spikelets along the main stem axis is described using inflorescence terminology.

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  • panicle — [pan′i kəl] n. [L panicula, tuft on plants, panicle, dim. of panus, a swelling, ear of millet: see PANIC1] a loose, irregularly branched, indeterminate flower cluster; compound raceme: see INFLORESCENCE panicled adj. paniculate [pa nik′yo͞o lit,… …   English World dictionary

  • Panicle — Pan i*cle, n. [L. panicula a tuft on plants, dim. of panus the thread wound upon the bobbin in a shuttle; cf. Gr. ?, ?; prob. akin to E. pane: cf. F. panicule. See 2d {Pane}.] (Bot.) A pyramidal form of inflorescence, in which the cluster is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • panicle — ► NOUN Botany ▪ a loose branching cluster of flowers, as in oats. ORIGIN Latin panicula, from panus ear of millet …   English terms dictionary

  • panicle — pan•i•cle [[t]ˈpæn ɪ kəl[/t]] n. 1) bot a compound raceme 2) bot any loose, diversely branching flower cluster • Etymology: 1590–1600; < L pānicula, dim. of pānus spool, stalk holding a panicle < Doric Gk pânos (Attic pênos) web; see i ,… …   From formal English to slang

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  • panicle — An inflorescence, the main axis of which is branched; the branches bear loose racemose flower clusters. Rice is a prominent crop plant with a panicle inflorescence …   Glossary of Biotechnology

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  • panicle — noun Etymology: Latin panicula, diminutive of panus Date: 1597 1. a compound racemose inflorescence see inflorescence illustration 2. a pyramidal loosely branched flower cluster • panicled adjective • paniculate adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • panicle — panicled, adj. /pan i keuhl/, n. Bot. 1. a compound raceme. See illus. under inflorescence. 2. any loose, diversely branching flower cluster. [1590 1600; < L panicula tuft (on plants), dim. of panus thread wound on a bobbin, a swelling, ear of… …   Universalium

  • panicle — noun A compound raceme …   Wiktionary

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