[hur-bey-shuh s, ur-]


of, relating to, or characteristic of an herb; herblike.
(of plants or plant parts)
  1. not woody.
  2. having the texture, color, etc., of an ordinary foliage leaf.

Origin of herbaceous

1640–50; < Latin herbāceus grassy, like grass, equivalent to herb(a) grass, herbs + -āceus -aceous
Related formsher·ba·ceous·ly, adverbsem·i·her·ba·ceous, adjectiveun·her·ba·ceous, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for herbaceous

Contemporary Examples of herbaceous

Historical Examples of herbaceous

  • Like the former, it was a herbaceous plant, but of a very different appearance.

    The Quadroon

    Mayne Reid

  • "Chum, you bounder," I shout, as he is about to wade through the herbaceous border.

    Happy Days

    Alan Alexander Milne

  • And their herbaceous border, even now, is a blaze of colour.

  • He instances Ricinus, which is an herbaceous annual with us, but a tree in other countries31.

  • A great variety prevails there of herbaceous or frutescent plants.

    The Desert World

    Arthur Mangin

British Dictionary definitions for herbaceous



designating or relating to plants or plant parts that are fleshy as opposed to woodya herbaceous plant
(of petals and sepals) green and leaflike
of or relating to herbs
Derived Formsherbaceously, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for herbaceous

1640s, from Latin herbaceus, from herba (see herb).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

herbaceous in Science



A flowering plant whose stem does not produce woody tissue and generally dies back at the end of each growing season. Both grasses and forbs are herbs.
Related formsherbaceous adjective (hûr-bāshəs, ûr-)
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.