Dictionary > Integument


(1) (anatomy) The outer protective covering of (the body of) an organism, such as cuticle, fur, shell, rind, seed coat, etc.; the skin including the glands and appendages such as hair, nails, feathers, scales, horns, hooves and claws.
(2) (botany) The outer cell layers of the ovule enclosing the nucellus.
In anatomy, the integument of humans and vertebrates is the largest organ of the body. It performs many vital functions that include protection against thermal, chemical, abrasive injuries and pathogens, sensation, secretion, vitamin D synthesis, insulation and thermoregulation.
In botany, the integuments are the outer layer(s) of the ovule and develop into a seed coat as the ovule matures following fertilization. Gymnosperms usually have one integument layer while angiosperms usually have two.
Word origin: Latin integumentum (a covering)
Related forms: integumentary (adjective)
See also: skin
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