gymnosperm

noun

gym·​no·​sperm ˈjim-nə-ˌspərm How to pronounce gymnosperm (audio)
plural gymnosperms
: any of a class (Gymnospermae) of vascular plants that produce seeds not enclosed in an ovary, possess separate male and female reproductive strobili, and include the conifers, cycadophytes, gnetophytes, and gingko

Note: While separate male and female strobili typically occur on the same plant, some gymnosperms (such as the gingko) are dioecious, with male and female strobili on different individual plants.

gymnosperms are an ancient group of plants, showing up about 380 million years ago.John Nelson
Gymnosperm pollen is spread largely by the wind, the sperm-like dust of one plant blowing along until it reaches the egg-like ovule of another …Natalie Angier
compare angiosperm
gymnospermous adjective
gymnospermous plants
gymnospermy noun
… transition from gymnospermy, in which pollen grains (sperm donors) land directly on ovules (egg donors), to angiospermy, in which they land on the tip of the carpels. Julien B. Bachelier

Examples of gymnosperm in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But this recently discovered preserved pollen came from non-flowering gymnosperms, a group of seed-producing plants that includes conifers such as pine, fir and spruce trees. Will Sullivan, Smithsonian Magazine, 6 Mar. 2023 Roughly 25 gymnosperm species can live 1,000 years or longer. Jared Farmer, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Jan. 2023 After the crisis, the dominant seedless ferns were supplanted by seed-bearing gymnosperms such as conifers and ginkgoes. National Geographic, 18 Dec. 2019 Yet, once angiosperms emerged, their structural and functional diversity exploded — far outpacing the diversification and spread of the other major plant groups, the gymnosperms (including conifers) and ferns. Quanta Magazine, 16 June 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'gymnosperm.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

ultimately from Greek gymnos + sperma seed — more at sperm

First Known Use

1804, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of gymnosperm was in 1804

Dictionary Entries Near gymnosperm

Cite this Entry

“Gymnosperm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gymnosperm. Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

gymnosperm

noun
gym·​no·​sperm ˈjim-nə-ˌspərm How to pronounce gymnosperm (audio)
: any of a group of woody nonflowering vascular plants (as pines, yews, and gingkos) that produce naked seeds not enclosed in a true fruit

Medical Definition

gymnosperm

noun
gym·​no·​sperm ˈjim-nə-ˌspərm How to pronounce gymnosperm (audio)
: any of a class (Gymnospermae) of plants (as conifers or cycads) that produce seeds not enclosed in an ovary and possess separate male and female reproductive structures compare angiosperm
gymnospermous adjective

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