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Special covering of certain seeds that commonly develops from the seed stalk. It is often a bright-coloured fleshy envelope, as in such woody plants as the yews and nutmeg and in members of the arrowroot family, oxalis, and the castor-oil plant. Animals are attracted to arils and eat the seeds, dispersing them in their wastes. The aril of nutmeg is the source of the spice known as mace.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on aril, visit Britannica.com.