One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The tuft of hairs on each seed of thistles, dandelions, and similar plants, which assists dispersal by the wind.
clump, bunch, knot, cluster, tussock, tuffetView synonyms
- ‘The achenes are terete, narrowed at the base, 5 x 0 • 7 mm, ribbed and black, with a basal tuft of hairs and a pappus consisting of five ovate, petal-like scales.’
- ‘Coode and Richardson pointed out a relationship between Centranthus and Valeriana because both genera share a plumose pappus.’
- ‘The pauciflorous capitulum consists of outer female florets with short ligules, inner hermaphrodite florets without a pappus, and five outer involucral bracts, up to 2 cm long, possessing long-stalked glandular hairs.’
- ‘The achenes produced by each capitulum are similar, possess a pappus of bristles that causes them to move upwind and a well-developed elaisome (oil-containing appendage).’
Early 18th century: via Latin from Greek pappos.
(fl.c.AD 300–350), Greek mathematician; known as Pappus of Alexandria. His "Collection" of six books (another two are missing) is the principal source of knowledge of the mathematics of his predecessors.
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