pappus

[pap-uhs]
noun, plural pappi [pap-ahy] . Botany.
a downy, bristly, or other tuftlike appendage of the achene of certain plants, as the dandelion and the thistle.

Origin:
1695–1705; < Neo-Latin < Greek páppos down, literally, grandfather (taken as greybeard, white hairs, down)

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World English Dictionary
pappus (ˈpæpəs)
 
n , pl pappi
a ring of fine feathery hairs surrounding the fruit in composite plants, such as the thistle; aids dispersal of the fruits by the wind
 
[C18: via New Latin, from Greek pappos grandfather, old man, old man's beard, hence: pappus, down]
 
'pappose
 
adj
 
'pappous
 
adj

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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
pappus   (pāp'əs)  Pronunciation Key 
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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Example sentences
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.
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