One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The upper bract of the floret of a grass.Compare with lemma
- ‘The lemma is inserted on the rachilla (the spikelet axis) and, together with the palea, encloses the floret.’
- ‘For all studies, fresh barley grains were extracted in triplicate (after removing the glumes and paleae and keeping the pericarp - aleurone intact) and analysed in duplicate.’
- ‘Parts of the palea were removed to allow correct positioning and to avoid destruction of the sensor.’
- ‘Each flower has a lemma (outer bract) and a palea (inner bract) at its base, and contains two lodicules and one pistil surrounded by three anthers.’
- ‘Early stages of floret development are similar in the ear and tassel: each floret is enclosed in a lemma and palea and all florets produce two lodicules, three stamens, and a gynoecium.’
Mid 18th century: from Latin, literally ‘chaff’.
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