from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A modified calyx, composed of scales, bristles, or featherlike hairs, in plants of the composite family, such as the dandelion and the thistle.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The markedly reduced sepals of an Asteraceae floret that take the form of trichomes or scale attached to the ovary or seed.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The hairy or feathery appendage of the achenes of thistles, dandelions, and most other plants of the order Compositæ; also, the scales, awns, or bristles which represent the calyx in other plants of the same order.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Down, as that on the seeds of some plants.

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

  • n. calyx composed of scales or bristles or featherlike hairs in plants of the Compositae such as thistles and dandelions


Latin, old man, down on certain seeds, from Greek pappos; see papa in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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