Shrubs


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

Shrubs

 

perennial woody plants that branch near the ground (in contrast to trees) and have no main trunk in the adult stage. A shrub is one of the principal plant forms. Only young plants have a main trunk; eventually other branches the same size or larger than the trunk arise from underground or aboveground dormant buds at the base of the maternal and subsequent shoots. Shrubs have a life-span of 10–20 years (rarely, 40–50 years) and a height of 0.8–6.0 m. They are distributed in all vegetation zones but are most varied in dry, continental conditions and in subtropical and subalpine mountain zones. In forests of the temperate zone, shrubs usually form the undergrowth. During the evolution of the plant world, many shrubs probably arose from trees as a result of adaptation to such unfavorable conditions as drought and low temperature, giving rise in turn to subshrubs and perennial herbaceous plants.

References in classic literature ?
I was walking in a meadow, the source of a small brook, when the sun at last, just before setting, after a cold, gray day, reached a clear stratum in the horizon, and the softest, brightest morning sunlight fell on the dry grass and on the stems of the trees in the opposite horizon and on the leaves of the shrub oaks on the hillside, while our shadows stretched long over the meadow east- ward, as if we were the only motes in its beams.
The humming of flies among the evergreen shrubs under the window penetrated drowsily into the room; and the tramp of a heavy-footed cart-horse, plodding along the high-road beyond the garden, was as plainly audible in the stillness as if it had been night.
I could not look at her, I could not look at him, I knew quite well that he was looking at us both; and I turned to the window and looked out there, at some shrubs that were drooping their heads in the cold.
Now to th' ascent of that steep savage Hill SATAN had journied on, pensive and slow; But further way found none, so thick entwin'd, As one continu'd brake, the undergrowth Of shrubs and tangling bushes had perplext All path of Man or Beast that past that way: One Gate there onely was, and that look'd East On th' other side: which when th' arch-fellon saw Due entrance he disdaind, and in contempt, At one slight bound high overleap'd all bound Of Hill or highest Wall, and sheer within Lights on his feet.
The hippopotamus, or river-horse, grazes upon the land and browses on the shrubs, yet is no less dangerous than the crocodile.
Past its base there flowed a gentle brook, all around it spread a meadow so green and luxuriant that it was a delight to the eyes to look upon it, and forest trees in abundance, and shrubs and flowers, added to the charms of the spot.
Suddenly, the brown tiles shone, the mosses glittered, fantastic shadows danced upon the meadows and beneath the trees; fading colors revived; striking contrasts developed, the foliage of the trees and shrubs defined itself more clearly in the light.
At ten yards and a half deep, we walked amidst a shoal of little fishes of all kinds, more numerous than the birds of the air, and also more agile; but no aquatic game worthy of a shot had as yet met our gaze, when at that moment I saw the Captain shoulder his gun quickly, and follow a moving object into the shrubs.
After two hours the guide stopped the elephant, and gave him an hour for rest, during which Kiouni, after quenching his thirst at a neighbouring spring, set to devouring the branches and shrubs round about him.
It was plain enough at first on account of the crushed and broken bushes, white rags torn from the puma's bandages, and occasional smears of blood on the leaves of the shrubs and undergrowth.
They grew scattered, as if wild, among the variegated shrubs, but, as I say, I did not examine them closely at this time.
Overhead the clouds were driving fast, albeit not a breath stirred the shrubs about us.