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[pap-uh s] /ˈpæp əs/
noun, plural pappi
[pap-ahy] /ˈpæp aɪ/ (Show IPA).
a downy, bristly, or other tuftlike appendage of the achene of certain plants, as the dandelion and the thistle.
Origin of pappus
1695-1705; < New Latin < Greek páppos down, literally, grandfather (taken as greybeard, white hairs, down) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pappus
  • Outer achenes often darker, rough-surfaced, and lacking a pappus.
  • Inner achenes mostly smooth-surfaced and with a persistent pappus.
  • Its seeds have a white pappus and are wind-carried, resulting in rapid spread of tansy ragwort infestations.
  • However, the bristly pappus may attach to animal hair or fur as the plant is known to spread along game trails.
  • Both ray and disk corollas are encircled by a pappus of slender bristles.
  • The bases of both ray and disk corollas are encircled by a pappus of slender white bristles.
  • Seeds are dark brown and prominently ridged and wrinkled, with a tuft of soft white pappus bristles.
  • Seeds are achenes with pappus and are wind disseminated.
  • At the tip of the achene is a beak five to six millimeters long that bears a pappus of numerous soft bristles.
  • Another important feature is the pappus which is a tuft of bristles attached to the seed.
British Dictionary definitions for pappus


noun (pl) pappi (ˈpæpaɪ)
a ring of fine feathery hairs surrounding the fruit in composite plants, such as the thistle; aids dispersal of the fruits by the wind
Derived Forms
pappose, pappous, adjective
Word Origin
C18: via New Latin, from Greek pappos grandfather, old man, old man's beard, hence: pappus, down
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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pappus in Science
Plural pappi (pāp'ī)
A structure made of scales, bristles, or featherlike hairs that is attached to the seeds (called cypselae) of plants of the composite family and that aids in dispersal by the wind. The downy part of a dandelion or thistle seed is a pappus. The pappus is derived from a modified calyx.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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