Turning over a new LEAF!

Wordy Weekly Extra


A Wordy Weekly extra. Biological terms related to leaves (and this is just part 1):


CHLOROPHYLL: you might think the term would mean ‘light absorbing’, chlorophyll being the light-absorbing substance in leaves, but in fact the original Greek components mean ‘green leaf’, so…that makes sense as well, right?


χλωρὸς - green, fresh, youthful (cognate of χλωη – young green shoot)

φῦλλον - leaf



Perhaps I should have left this one until last in case you have had your ‘PHYLL’ of it. Oh never mind!




MONO-/DI-COTYLEDON: the term comes from the Greek. The prefixed MONO and DI mean ‘single’ and ‘two’ or ‘double’ respectively (μονο- and δι-). Now the terms in their biological context refer to flowering plants that yield single seed leaf and two seed leaves respectively. Cotyledon is the term for an embryonic leaf that is among the first to emerge. Κοτυληδών, the Greek word whence it derives, actually means ‘cup-shaped’.

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