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 Drinking xylem would be a bit like drinking a 2-by-4 or as one of our staff more accurately opined, drinking your straw! Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 14 May 2021 The stems, branches and larger roots of these plants are reinforced with wood produced from secondary xylem. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, 19 Mar. 2021 Once in, the mistletoe squeezes its way around the host cells toward the tree’s plumbing, the xylem. Rachel Ehrenberg, Smithsonian Magazine, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 1 Jan. 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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Statistics for xylem

Last Updated

16 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Xylem.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/xylem. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on xylem

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about xylem


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