[ zahy-luhm, -lem ]
/ ˈzaɪ ləm, -lɛm /
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noun Botany.
a compound tissue in vascular plants that helps provide support and that conducts water and nutrients upward from the roots, consisting of tracheids, vessels, parenchyma cells, and woody fibers.


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Origin of xylem

1870–75; <German, equivalent to Greek xýl(on) wood + -ēma (see phloem)

Words nearby xylem

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use xylem in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for xylem

/ (ˈzaɪləm, -lɛm) /

a plant tissue that conducts water and mineral salts from the roots to all other parts, provides mechanical support, and forms the wood of trees and shrubs. It is of two types (protoxylem and metaxylem), both of which are made up mainly of vessels and tracheidsSee also protoxylem, metaxylem

Word Origin for xylem

C19: from Greek xulon wood
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

Scientific definitions for xylem

[ zīləm ]

A tissue in vascular plants that carries water and dissolved minerals from the roots and provides support for softer tissues. Xylem consists of several different types of cells: fibers for support, parenchyma for storage, and tracheary elements for the transport of water. The tracheary elements are arranged as long tubes through which columns of water are raised. In a tree trunk, the innermost part of the wood is dead but structurally strong xylem, while the outer part consists of living xylem, and beyond it, layers of cambium and phloem. See more at cambium capillary action. Compare phloem.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for xylem

[ (zeye-luhm) ]

The system of vessels that transports water in a plant. (See phloem.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.