a principal low-level cloud type (cloud genus) in the form of individual, detached elements which are generally dense and possess sharp non-fibrous outlines; these elements develop vertically, appearing as rising mounds, domes, or towers, the upper parts of which often resembles a cauliflower; the sunlit parts of these clouds are mostly brilliant white; their bases are relatively dark and nearly horizontal; near the horizon the vertical development of cumulus often causes the individual clouds to appear merged; if precipitation occurs, it is usually of a showery nature.