Definition of gemmule in English:



  • A tough-coated dormant cluster of embryonic cells produced by a freshwater sponge for development in more favourable conditions.

    • ‘Dendrites branch repeatedly, and their surfaces are studded with spines or gemmules, thus expanding the receptive cell surface.’
    • ‘Development consisted of the orderly assembly and expression of the gemmules transmitted via the parental germ cells to the progeny.’
    • ‘Some species also form internal buds, called gemmules, which can survive extremely unfavorable conditions that cause the rest of the sponge to die.’
    • ‘Methods of asexual reproduction include both budding and the formation of gemmules.’
    • ‘These gemmules circulate throughout the body, and each sex cell eventually accumulates a full set.’


Mid 19th century: from French, from Latin gemmula, diminutive of gemma ‘bud, jewel’.