Legalese is a style of writing used by lawyers that is designed to be difficult for laymen to read and understand, sometimes with the purpose of justifying exorbitant legal fees.  It is characterized by long sentences, many modifying clauses, complex vocabulary and insensitivity to the layman's need to understand the document's meaning.

This is not my technique of writing.  In fact, I avoid it as much as I can.  

Who would want to read the following?

The masculine shall include the feminine, the singular shall include the plural and the present tense shall include the past and future tense.

The above is an actual example of legalese that I encounter on a regular basis when I review contracts.

For those of you who are masochistic enough, click on this link to read "an actual example of legalese used to its fullest.  It is one sentence with 94 words and no respect for grammar".

In the world of Botany, laymen like me frequently encounter words that can be construed as the equivalent of legalese.  Words like dioecious, monocarpic and trichomes caught my fancy when I was reading about my newly chased plants.

One botanical word that I obsessed over is viviparous.  All nuances of the word caught my attention.  Its spelling, its pronunciation and its meaning.  To hear its proper pronunciation, click here.  Which pronuciation do you prefer?

Viviparous means producing seeds that germinate on the plant or germinating before separating from the parent plant.

It is not a common mode of reproduction in plants.  However, there are a number of species in the Bromeliad family which pup in this manner.  An example of this is the Orthophytum gurkenii.

If you look closely at the pictures below, you can see the baby plants growing on the inflorescence.  I can't wait for these to separate and become independent plants.

Picture of the viviparous offset en face.

Look at how small its flower is, just slightly bigger than an ant. 

Unlike in contracts and pleadings where all you see is page after page of text, in botany, at least, complicated terms can be explained through pictures.  

Res ipsa loquitur.



For more Macro Monday, head on over to Lisa's Chaos.




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