One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant that has no true flowers or seeds, including ferns, mosses, liverworts, lichens, algae, and fungi.
- ‘Students rotated from one scientist to another, assisting with data collection, and gained insight into each scientist's particular area (wetland ecology, cryptogams, syntaxonomy, floristics, or natural history).’
- ‘In this subzone, herbaceous dicots, grasses, rushes, and cryptogams are dominant, and woody plants and sedges are absent.’
- ‘As in other cryptogam species, the effect of polarized red light implies that phytochrome acts at the cell periphery.’
- ‘The Myxomycetes represent the only group of cryptogams with species only known from the tree canopy.’
Mid 19th century: from French cryptogame, from modern Latin cryptogamae (plantae), denoting non-flowering plants, from Greek kruptos ‘hidden’ + gamos ‘marriage’ (because the means of reproduction was not apparent).
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