• synonyms


noun Botany.
  1. a small or secondary spike in grasses; one of the flower clusters, the unit of inflorescence, consisting of two or more flowers and subtended by one or more glumes variously disposed around a common axis.
Show More

Origin of spikelet

First recorded in 1785–95; spike2 + -let
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for spikelet

Historical Examples of spikelet

  • Spikelet with a reddish tinge; awn almost smooth, less than 20 mm.


    H. Marshall Ward

  • Spikelet single, terminating the naked culm, many–several-flowered.

British Dictionary definitions for spikelet


  1. botany the unit of a grass inflorescence, typically consisting of two bracts (glumes) surrounding one or more florets, each of which is itself surrounded by two bractsSee lemma 1, palea
  2. the small inflorescence of plants of other families, esp the sedges
Show More
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

spikelet in Science


  1. A small spike, especially one that is part of the characteristic inflorescence of grasses and sedges. A grass spikelet consists of one or more florets (reduced flowers). Each floret contains a pistil and stamens and is enclosed by two bracts, the lemma and the palea. At the base of the entire spikelet are two additional scalelike bracts, the glumes.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.