Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An unbranched slender green freshwater alga.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Any unbranched, slender, green plant of the fresh-water algae. The word is frequently used in a wider sense.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A genus in which the older botanists placed many very heterogeneous species of filamentous cryptogams.
  • n. [lowercase; pl. confervæ (-vē).] The common name of plants of this genus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. any of various algae of the genus Tribonema; algae with branching filaments that form scum in still or stagnant fresh water

Etymologies

Latin, a kind of water plant (?). See comfrey. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Known as far back as 400 B.C.E. Greece, comfrey is an extraordinary plant whose name derives from the Latin conferva, meaning "water plant healer."

    Mother Earth News Latest 10 Articles

  • A plant of this kind is not the less dominant because some conferva inhabiting the water or some parasitic fungus is infinitely more numerous in individuals and more widely diffused.

    II. Variation under Nature. Wide-Ranging, Much Diffused, and Common Species Vary Most

  • But if the conferva or parasitic fungus exceeds its allies in the above respects, it will then be dominant within its own class.

    II. Variation under Nature. Wide-Ranging, Much Diffused, and Common Species Vary Most

  • At the latter end of last season, as was formerly noticed, the beacon was painted white, and from the bleaching of the weather and the sprays of the sea the upper parts were kept clean; but within the range of the tide the principal beams were observed to be thickly coated with a green stuff, the conferva of botanists.

    Records of a Family of Engineers

  • The floor of the mortar gallery having been already laid down by Mr. Watt and his men on a former visit, was merely soaked with the sprays; but the joisting-beams which supported it had, in the course of the winter, been covered with a fine downy conferva produced by the range of the sea.

    Records of a Family of Engineers

  • "Had two," said Dick, watching the approaching punt, which was still half a mile away, and being poled steadily in and out of the winding water-lane, now hidden by the dry rustling reeds which stood covered with strands of filmy conferva or fen scum.

    Dick o' the Fens A Tale of the Great East Swamp

  • A clammy conferva covers everything except the mosaics upon tribune, roof, and clerestory, which defy the course of age.

    Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Second Series

  • A conferva grows in the hot water, and the garnets are worn out of the gneiss rock exposed to its action.

    Himalayan Journals — Complete

  • Shoots of stones descend from the ravines, all of a white fine-grained granite, stained red with a minute conferva, which has been taken by Himalayan travellers for red snow; * [Red snow was never found in the Antarctic regions during Sir James Ross's South Polar voyage; nor do I know any authentic record of its having been seen in the Himalaya.] a phenomenon I never saw in Sikkim.

    Himalayan Journals — Complete

  • A conferva grew in the waters of the lake, and short, hard tufts of sedge on the banks, but no other plants were to be seen.

    Himalayan Journals — Complete

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Comments

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  • "He passed a mug of the rainwater collected long ago, north of the Line.

    "Stephen smelt to it, poured a little into a phial and looked at it with a lens. Delight dawned upon his grave, considering face and spread wide. 'Will you look at this, now?' he said, passing it to Martin. 'Perhaps the finest conferva soup I have ever seen; and I believe I make out some African forms.'

    "'There are also some ill-looking polyps, and some creatures no doubt close kin to the hydroblabs,' said Martin. 'I should not drink it for a deanery.'"
    --Patrick O'Brian, The Far Side of the World, 168–169

    February 20, 2008