One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The hollow stem of a grass or cereal plant, especially that bearing the flower.
- ‘The ‘solitary’ appearance of this plant is not a good character, as the species forms small clumps; one individual on disturbed ground at the Berkeley County site formed a rather large clump with 9 flowering culms.’
- ‘The main culms of the plants were harvested at anthesis, 18 days post-anthesis and at maturity.’
- ‘We also realized that the culms of plants tend to elongate as the growing season progresses.’
- ‘More recently, the cause of these problems has been identified: the association of a fungal endophyte that resides within the leaves, sheaths, and flower culms of tall fescue.’
- ‘At the lower end of this maximum, the portion of this tissue decreases, but closer to the ground, the stems, and often also the culms of the grasses, increase (as can easily be seen in trees), and produce a second maximum.’
Mid 17th century: from Latin culmus ‘stalk’.
A series of Carboniferous strata in south-western England, mainly shale and limestone with some thin coal seams.
- ‘Ahead of this deformation front there is a record of synorogenic sedimentation that is referred to as the Culm.’
- ‘The Lower Carboniferous and lowermost Upper Carboniferous stratigraphic sequence is composed of the Culm siliceous shales, the Culm siliceous limestones, the Culm limestones and the upper black shales.’
- ‘Sadly, the extent of Culm grassland in Cornwall has declined dramatically in recent years.’
- ‘Some implications for the Culm basin have been discussed above.’
- ‘Sedimentation characterized by radiolarian-bearing red mudrocks is typical of the interval between the sulphide layer and the flysch of the Culm.’
2archaic Coal dust or slack.
- ‘Although he started to study this subject when culm burning had largely ceased in the 1980s, he was very fortunate in having a large core of oral history among the older generation of people who knew all about culm.’
Middle English (in the sense ‘soot, smut’, now only Scots): probably related to coal.
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