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cleft: Having two or more component sectors or peripheral protrusions that are delimited by concavities in the margin or surface and that are not proximally distinct from the remainder of the whole. The meanings of this term and its approximate synonyms sometimes have been supposed to differ according to the depth of the delimiting concavities relative to the midline or midpoint of the overall structure, and/or to the shape or proportions of the protusions or sectors, however, there has been little consistency in the applications of the various terms according to such distinctions, which are ones only of degree and are necessarily arbitrary in any case. In general usage, these terms differ only indistinctly and connotatively: cleft, lobed (or lobate), parted (or partite) and segmented tend to connote fewer protrusions or sectors, lobate usually connotes as well a generally rounded shape, dissected tends to connote more numerous sectors that are elongate and angular. See also cut (incised, lacerate, torn), laciniate (slashed).[1]
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Example(s): Example sentences from FOC V12 : [1] stipules deciduous, intrapetiolar, incompletely connate, apex 2-cleft; [2] Perianth 5-cleft to 1/2, herbaceous, minutely papillate, margin white;


  1. Categorical Glossary for the Flora of North America Project, by Robert W. Kiger and Duncan M. Porter. 2001. Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation.