One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Any of the unicellular green algae constituting (or formerly included in) the genus Palmella (family Tetrasporaceae or Palmellaceae), which divide to form colonies of non-motile cells embedded in mucilaginous masses; (in form Palmella) the genus itself.
2A phase in the life cycle of various single-celled algae or unicellular flagellates during which they divide by fission to form colonies of non-motile cells within a mucilaginous matrix; an organism in this stage of its life cycle; the colony thus formed. Frequently attributive, especially in "palmella stage".
Early 19th century. From scientific Latin Palmella, genus name from ancient Greek παλμός vibrating motion (with reference to the tremulous gelatinous substance in which the cells of a colony are embedded: see note) + scientific Latin -ella.
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