xy·​lem | \ ˈzī-ləm How to pronounce xylem (audio) , -ˌlem \

Definition of xylem

: a complex tissue in the vascular system of higher plants that consists of vessels, tracheids, or both usually together with wood fibers and parenchyma cells, functions chiefly in conduction of water and dissolved minerals but also in support and food storage, and typically constitutes the woody element (as of a plant stem) — compare phloem

Examples of xylem in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Once in, the mistletoe squeezes its way around the host cells toward the tree’s plumbing, the xylem. Rachel Ehrenberg, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Biology of Mistletoe," 23 Dec. 2020 Sugars are transported up into the branches of trees traveling through the xylem in the springtime, not the phloem which is their normal pathway. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, "Gardening season has arrived in Alaska. Do these chores now.," 14 May 2020 If the tree is still creating foliage, then water and nutrients are being transported from the roots to the tree canopy, so the phloem and xylem are still functional. oregonlive, "Will this wounded weeping willow survive? Ask an expert," 9 Feb. 2020 As water travels through the plants’ xylem tubes, which help keep them hydrated, air bubbles will form and explode, generating small vibrations. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Plants May Let Out Ultrasonic Squeals When Stressed," 2 Dec. 2019 The bacteria start in the leaf-tips and work their way into the trunks, blocking the xylem (the water-carrying arteries) and preventing the trees from absorbing water. The Economist, "The threat to the southern European olive," 21 Sep. 2019 Around the edges ran thick, vertical strands containing xylem, the tubelike structures that carry water through many plants. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Ancient Tree Structure Is Like a Forest unto Itself," 1 Jan. 2018 As the cladoxylopsids grew, these columns of xylem split themselves apart—most likely to supply water to the expanding plant. Daisy Yuhas, Scientific American, "Ancient Tree Structure Is Like a Forest unto Itself," 1 Jan. 2018 Maple sap flows through the tree’s water-transport system, called the xylem, inside minuscule vertical tubes about a thousandth of an inch in diameter. Helen Czerski, WSJ, "The Freeze and Thaw That Give Us Maple Syrup," 21 Mar. 2018

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

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First Known Use of xylem

1873, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for xylem

German, from Greek xylon

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Last Updated

29 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Xylem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xylem. Accessed 24 Feb. 2021.

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Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xylem

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