- any organism that lives on dead organic matter, as certain fungi and bacteria.
Origin of saprophyte
Also called saprobe.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for saprophytically
They could not have made Bladesover they cannot replace it; they just happen to break out over it—saprophytically.Tono Bungay
H. G. Wells
- any plant that lives and feeds on dead organic matter using mycorrhizal fungi associated with its roots; a saprotrophic plant
Word Origin and History for saprophytically
"bacteria or fungus that grows on decaying organic matter," 1867, from French, from Greek sapros "putrid" + phyton "plant" (see phyto-). Related: Saprophytism.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that grows on and derives its nourishment from dead or decaying organic matter.
- An organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that lives on and gets its nourishment from dead organisms or decaying organic material. Saprophytes recycle organic material in the soil, breaking it down into in simpler compounds that can be taken up by other organisms.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.