One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A sterile hairlike filament present among the reproductive organs in many lower plants, especially bryophytes, algae, and fungi.
- ‘Alternatively, the branchlets may represent inflated hairs, or paraphyses, as found on some phaeophyte sporophytes or rhodophyte tetrasporophytes.’
- ‘The ostiole is blocked by elongate sterile cells, known generically as paraphyses.’
- ‘However, Neolecta lacks paraphyses, and the croziers do not develop until the ascus is formed.’
- ‘The centra of morphoseries IIB-2 share with hiodontids the presence of shallow neural arch articular pits and deep rib articular pits posterior to the paraphyses.’
- ‘Perithecia are always smaller than wild-type perithecia and a quarter of them contain only sterile paraphyses.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from Greek para- ‘beside, subsidiary’ + phusis ‘growth’.
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