O"["o]*phore\, n. [Gr. ? egg-bearing; w,'o`n an egg + ? to bear.] (Bot.) An alternately produced form of certain cryptogamous plants, as ferns, mosses, and the like, which bears antheridia and archegonia, and so has sexual fructification, as contrasted with the sporophore, which is nonsexual, but produces spores in countless number. In ferns the o["o]phore is a minute prothallus; in mosses it is the leafy plant.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.
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