Dictionary > Saprophyte

Saprophyte

Definition
noun, plural: saprophytes
(botany) An organism (especially a plant or plant-like) that feeds, absorbs or grows on decaying organic matter.
Supplement
The term saprophyte is no longer in popular use since there are no true embryophytes or true plants that are saprophytic in nature. Plants that are once thought of as saprophytes such as orchids and monotropes are now considered as parasites on fungi. Organisms feeding on dead organic matter such as fungi and bacteria are no longer categorized as plants or belonging to Plant Kingdom. Hence, a more appropriate term to describe such organisms is saprophage or detrittivore.
Word origin: Gr. Phyton = plant.

Related form: saprophytic (adjective)
Synonym: saprophage


You will also like...

human brain structure
The Conscious & Unconscious Nervous System

This tutorial elaborates on how the nervous system works, particularly at the tissue level of the brain. There are three..

A chart depicting Mendel's Law of Dominance
Mendel’s Law & Mendelian Genetics

One of Mendel's law of inheritance is the "law of dominance". There are certain cases though that this pattern is not ob..

Physical growth
Physical Development in Humans

This tutorial elaborates on the physical development of humans, particularly from puberty to adulthood. Read this tutori..

DNA molecule
Genetic Control – On and Off Genes

Genes are the blueprint of our bodies, a blueprint that creates a variety of proteins essential to any organism's surviv..

"Cronopio dentiacutus", a prehistoric mammal (an illustration)
Mammalian Ancestors

Mammals are a diverse group of organisms, where most of them develop their offspring within the uterus of the mother. Ov..

river
Running Water Freshwater Communities

This tutorial introduces flowing water communities, which bring new and dithering factors into the equation for possible..