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[pey-lee-uh] /ˈpeɪ li ə/
noun, plural paleae
[pey-lee-ee] /ˈpeɪ liˌi/ (Show IPA)
a chafflike scale or bract.
the scalelike, membranous organ in the flowers of grasses that is situated upon a secondary axis in the axil of the flowering glume and envelops the stamens and pistil.
Origin of palea
1745-55; < New Latin, special use of Latin palea chaff
Related forms
[pey-lee-ey-shuh s] /ˌpeɪ liˈeɪ ʃəs/ (Show IPA),
[pey-lee-it, ‐eyt] /ˈpeɪ li ɪt, ‐ˌeɪt/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for palea


noun (botany) (pl) paleae (ˈpeɪlɪˌiː), pales
the inner of two bracts surrounding each floret in a grass spikelet Compare lemma1
any small membranous bract or scale
Derived Forms
paleaceous (ˌpeɪlɪˈeɪʃəs) adjective
Word Origin
C18: from Latin: straw, chaff; see pallet1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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palea in Science
Plural paleae (pā'lē-ē')
  1. The inner or upper of the two bracts enclosing one of the small flowers within a grass spikelet.

  2. The chaffy scales on the receptacle of a flower head in a plant of the composite family.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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