We started with Plant Morphology in class (specifically, the morphology of angiosperms).
My teacher's provided us with the following terms and their definitions.
A modified stem that is flattened or cylindrical and capable of unlimited growth. They are green and capable of photosynthesis. Examples include; Opuntia, Epiphyllum, Casuarina, Euphorbia.
Cladophyll (also called a Cladode)
A modified stem capable of limited growth. They are green and capable of photosynthesis. They bear an axillary bud at the their middle, from which flowers develop. Examples include; Ruscus, and some Asparagus species.
No mention of the term "Phyllode"...yet.
Now I'm sure I understand the definitions provided, however, I'm beginning to seriously question the validity of those definitions.
Apparently, these terms aren't documented very well, and after two hours of constant Googling, I arrived at:
Phylloclade (From the Wikipedia page of the same name)
Phylloclades and cladodes are flattened, photosynthetic shoots, which are usually considered to be modified branches. The two terms are used either differently or interchangeably by different authors. [Examples provided]: Ruscus, Phyllanthus and some Asparagus species.
Cladophyll (From the Wikipedia page for "Petiole")
In some plants, the petioles are flattened and widened, to become phyllodes or phyllodia, or cladophylls and the true leaves may be reduced or absent. Thus, the phyllode comes to serve the functions of the leaf. [Examples provided]: Some Acacia species.
This is annoying, seriously.
According to the definitions provided by my teacher, we're dealing with something called a "Phylloclade" and something else called a "Cladophyll" (= "Cladode"). They don't mention the term "Phyllode", though.
Based on the Wikipedia definitions, however, we're dealing with something called a "Phylloclade (= "Cladode", if you ignore minor d̶i̶s̶r̶e̶p̶a̶n̶c̶i̶e̶s̶ differences in their definitions, which are mentioned later on in the Wikipedia article), and something else called a "Cladophyll" (= "Phyllode")
1) What are the correct definitions of the terms "Phylloclade", "Phyllode", "Cladophyll" and "Cladode"?
2) Are the examples (provided in my notes and the Wikipedia articles) actually relevant/correct? For example: Does Ruscus possess Phylloclades (as suggested by the Wikipedia article) or does it possess Cladophylls (as suggested by my teacher)?
3) Building on question (1): Does "Phylloclade" = "Cladode", and "Cladophyll" = "Phyllode"?