This general term in palynology is applied to surface features. All the ornamenting features (areola, clava, echinus, foveola, fossula, granulum, gemma, plicae, reticulum, rugulae, striae, verruca) are artificial categories that mark extremes within a broad morphological series and are therefore regarded as extremely variable; nevertheless, they are important in pollen description.

For practical purposes a distinct feature can be subdivided into ornamenting elements extending 1 |jm in diameter, or if smaller then marked with the prefix micro-.

Combinations of sculptural elements are common. Frequently a specific ornamentation is difficult to describe only in words because of the high plasticity of its ornamenting elements. A typical micrograph characterizes sculptural elements to a much higher degree.

The arrangement of ornamenting elements on the pollen surface is very often disparate, particularly in apertural regions. Pollen coatings like pollenkitt or tryphine may obscure the ornamentation.

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