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Thanks in part to following favourite author Robert Macfarlane (@RobGMacfarlane) on Twitter (he tweets a daily word) and in part to working through naturalist extraordinaire Dr Mary Gillham’s archives, I’ve been learning a lot of new words so I thought I would share the occasional one here. To start the stone rolling, we have marcescent, an adjective, which the Oxford Dictionary defines as ‘withering but remaining attached to the stem’. This is particularly noticeable during autumn and winter, as the leaves of some trees wilt and fade but remained attached to their branches. Some palms continuously retain a marcescent ‘skirt’ of dried fronds, and the term is, apparently, also used to refer to those species of fungi that can dry out but subsequently be rehydrated and continue to shed spores.

171018 marcescent