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prothallium

[proh-thal-ee-uh m] /proʊˈθæl i əm/
noun, plural prothallia
[proh-thal-ee-uh] /proʊˈθæl i ə/ (Show IPA)
1.
Botany. the gametophyte of ferns and related plants.
2.
the analogous rudimentary gametophyte of seed-bearing plants.
Origin
1855-1860
1855-60; < Neo-Latin < Greek pro- pro-2 + thallíon, diminutive of thallós young shoot; see -ium
Related forms
prothallial, prothallic, prothalline
[proh-thal-een, -ahyn] /proʊˈθæl in, -aɪn/ (Show IPA),
adjective
prothalloid, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for prothalloid

prothallium

the small, green, heart-shaped structure (gametophyte) of a fern that produces both male and female sex cells (gametes). The prothallium forms from a spore. After fertilization, a young sporophyte plant develops; it consists of a primary root, primary leaf, the rudiment of a new stem, and an organ, called a foot, that absorbs food from the gametophyte.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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