phlo·​em | \ ˈflō-ˌem How to pronounce phloem (audio) \

Definition of phloem

: 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 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 In the flytrap, the phloem—the tissue that transports nutrients through a plant—contains ion channels through which charged particles can flow. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 1 Mar. 2022 The fungi thrive in those channels and the phloem and wood around it. Star Tribune, 10 Mar. 2021 Larvae hatch from eggs and chew side galleries, feeding on the phloem and the fungi. Hillary Rosner, National Geographic, 1 Oct. 2020 The galleries block nutrient flow in the tree’s phloem layer. Hillary Rosner, National Geographic, 1 Oct. 2020 Just inside the bark is a cylinder of tissue known as the phloem. Neil Sperry,, 16 Apr. 2020 When the phloem is lost all the way around by injury like this (or by weed trimmer damage at ground line), the roots will die and the tree will die. Neil Sperry,, 16 Apr. 2020 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phloem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of phloem

1872, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for phloem

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

Learn More About phloem

Dictionary Entries Near phloem



phloem fiber

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for phloem

Last Updated

2 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Phloem.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on phloem Encyclopedia article about phloem


Test Your Vocabulary

Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!