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There are some plants whose leaves and stems are not the usual glossy green, but which are covered in very fine white hairs, or white fuzz. One example I have right now in my kitchen would be sage.

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I am sure that there is a word in the English language which describes the appearance of such plants (not just fuzzy plants, but specifically ones covered in white fuzz). But I don't remember the word. Does someone know it?

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Is there an equivalent word in another language you can think of? – tenfour Mar 5 '11 at 14:05
No, I only have ever read it in English. I remember looking it up in a dictionary and being amazed at the existence of such a specific word. – rumtscho Mar 5 '11 at 14:28
Dusty or mouldy ;) – mplungjan Mar 5 '11 at 16:26
@mplungjan I am enough of a hobby cook for my hair to stand on end when I hear such talk of my herbs. Let's call the ones on the back shelves "secondary canescent" instead. – rumtscho Mar 6 '11 at 13:29
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You could try hoary, canescent, or incanous.

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Thank you, this is perfect! It was "canescent" I was looking for, didn't know the others. How did you find them so quick, did you know them or is there some kind of reverse dictionary available where I could put a description and get the word? – rumtscho Mar 5 '11 at 14:29
I knew hoary and canescent so I just googled those words and added incanous to the list. But you can use a reverse dictionary as well. A search of "reverse dictionary" will turn up several serviceable ones. – Robusto Mar 5 '11 at 14:50

Pubescence is the term used for plants.

Botany & Zoology soft down on the leaves and stems of plants or on various parts of animals, especially insects.

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Whilst you are technically correct (assuming that by 'the term used for plants' you mean 'the term used for the hairiness/fuzziness of plants'), the OP asked specifically for fine white hairs, not hairs in general (hence my downvote). – Alicia Butteriss May 29 '13 at 21:06

'Pubescent' is technically correct. "Hairy" is actually used in some botanical texts, although of course plants do not have hair as in the mammalian sense. Also "downy" -- fine white hairs on leaves. Another scientific term is sericeous" -- silky with dense appressed hairs.

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