Definition of paraphysis in US English:



  • 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’.