Topiary is the horticultural practice of training live perennial plant
Perennial plant
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives for more than two years. The term is often used to differentiate a plant from shorter lived annuals and biennials. The term is sometimes misused by commercial gardeners or horticulturalists to describe only herbaceous perennials...

s, by clipping the foliage and twig
A twig is a small thin terminal branch of a woody plant. Twigs are critically important in identification of trees, shrubs and vines, especially in wintertime. The buds on the twig are an important diagnostic characteristic, as are the abscission scars where the leaves have fallen away...

s of tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s, shrub
A shrub or bush is distinguished from a tree by its multiple stems and shorter height, usually under 5–6 m tall. A large number of plants may become either shrubs or trees, depending on the growing conditions they experience...

s and subshrub
A subshrub or dwarf shrub is a short woody plant. Prostrate shrub is a similar term.It is distinguished from a shrub by its ground-hugging stems and lower height, with overwintering perennial woody growth typically less than 10–20 cm tall, or by being only weakly woody and/or persisting...

s to develop and maintain clearly defined shapes, perhaps geometric or fanciful; and the term also refers to plants which have been shaped in this way. It can be an art and is a form of living sculpture
Living sculpture
Living sculpture is any type of sculpture that is created with living, growing grasses, vines, plants or trees. It can be functional and/or ornamental...

. The word derives from the Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 word for an ornamental landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

 gardener, topiarius, creator of topia or "places", a Greek word that Romans applied also to fictive indoor landscapes executed in fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

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