protero- +‎ antho- +‎ -ous


proteranthous (not comparable)

  1. (botany) Having flowers that appear before the leaves.
    • 1918, Robert Wolcott, "Seasonal Changes in Nebraska and Some of their Effects on Animal Life", published in the Proceedings of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, Vol. 10, p. 115, as edited from the original text in Phytogeography of Nebraska by Pound & Clements (1900):
      The prevernal period begins with the first blooming after the period of rest, and lasts until the foliation of the proteranthous trees, [i.e., those putting out flowers before leaves], altogether hardly more than two weeks.
    • 1957, Richard Holttum and Henry Ridley, Revised Flora of Malaya: Orchids of Malaya:
      The heteranthous inflorescence is a development from the proteranthous condition in which the growth of the pseudobulb and leaves is deferred until after the flowering []
  2. (botany) Having leaves that appear before the flowers.
    • 2012, Rina Kamenetsky and Hiroshi Okubo, Ornamental Geophytes: From Basic Science to Sustainable Production, CRC Press (→ISBN), page 59:
      In hysteranthous plants, the photosynthesis rate is very low from flower emergence until anthesis. [] In contrast, in proteranthous growth the foliage dies down before the flower is produced []
    Antonym: hysteranthous

Usage notesEdit

The word is defined as "flowers before leaves" in Gray, Asa (1879): Gray's Botanical Text-book, Part I, p. 428. Gray had previously defined it as "leaves before flowers" in his 1836 Elements of Botany.