pa·​lea ˈpā-lē-ə How to pronounce palea (audio)
plural paleae ˈpā-lē-ˌē How to pronounce palea (audio)
: one of the chaffy scales on the receptacle of many composite plants
: the upper bract that with the lemma encloses the flower in grasses
paleal adjective

Word History


New Latin, from Latin, chaff — more at pallet

First Known Use

1753, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of palea was in 1753

Dictionary Entries Near palea

Cite this Entry

“Palea.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2023.

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