6

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?

  • 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
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    @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
10

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
4

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.

  • 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
  • adj. puberelent covered with fine soft hairs or down – Mari-Lou A Dec 27 '17 at 23:22
3

'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.

1

You could possibly be looking for the world "Pilose", my best guess as it's used in the sphere of botany quite a bit.

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    Welcome to EL&U. Please improve your answer by adding links to references to the word you're suggesting. – Rupert Morrish Dec 27 '17 at 21:32
1

Just to round things out - lanate

: covered with fine hair or hairlike filaments : woolly

"Lanate." Merriam-Webster.com. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 27 Dec. 2017.

Lamb's-ear plants are perennial herbs usually densely covered with gray or silver-white, silky-lanate hairs. They are named lamb's ears because of the leaves curved shape and white, soft, fur-like hair coating.

Stachys byzantina: Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stachys_byzantina

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