phlo·​em ˈflō-ˌem How to pronounce phloem (audio)
: a complex tissue in the vascular system of higher plants that consists mainly of sieve tubes and elongated parenchyma cells usually with fibers and that functions in translocation and in support and storage compare xylem

Examples of phloem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The xylem helps to transport water, while the phloem helps move nutrients and sugars. Monica Cull, Discover Magazine, 21 Oct. 2022 Just inside the bark is a tissue called phloem. Neil Sperry, San Antonio Express-News, 18 June 2021 Just as blood-sucking insects like mosquitoes can pick up malarial parasites or dengue viruses by biting infected humans, sap-sucking insects can pick up microbes by piercing the same infected phloem. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 22 Nov. 2011 Wood had discovered that male Ips beetles secrete a chemical into phloem that attracts potential mates. Daniel McGlynn, Discover Magazine, 20 Oct. 2012 By using glowing antibodies that stick to Rickettsia, Caspi-Fluger showed that they were confined to tubes called phloem. Ed Yong, Discover Magazine, 22 Nov. 2011 Trees that have been completely girdled all the way around, (360 degrees), will have a difficult time recovering since the voles likely chewed through the phloem and cambium. oregonlive, 10 Sep. 2022 The beetles burrow into the pines’ bark and lay eggs in living tissues, which the larvae eat through, creating galleries in the trees’ phloem and cambium, eventually disrupting the transport of water and nutrients from the roots to branches. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 July 2022 Then their offspring — spruce beetle larvae — feed on the tree’s phloem tissue, the sometimes green, sappy layer just below that bark. Morgan Krakow, Anchorage Daily News, 25 July 2022 See More

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

Word History


German, from Greek phloios, phloos bark; perhaps akin to Greek phlein to teem, abound, phlyein, phlyzein to boil over — more at fluid

First Known Use

1872, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phloem was in 1872

Dictionary Entries Near phloem

Cite this Entry

“Phloem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


phlo·​em ˈflō-ˌem How to pronounce phloem (audio)
: a tissue of higher plants that contains sieve tubes serving to carry dissolved food material and that lies mostly outside the cambium compare xylem

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