-phyll Also -phyllous.
[Greek phullon, leaf.]
Two common terms in this ending relate not to leaves themselves, but to chemical compounds they contain: chlorophyll (Greek khlōros, green), the pigment in plants which absorbs light to provide energy for photosynthesis; xanthophyll (Greek xanthos, yellow), a yellow or brown pigment which causes the autumn colours of leaves. Others refer to types or parts of leaves, or plants bearing certain types of leaf: mesophyll (Greek mesos, middle), the inner tissue of a leaf, containing many chloroplasts; microphyll, a very short leaf, as in a moss or clubmoss; sclerophyll (Greek sklēros, hard), a woody plant with evergreen leaves that are tough and thick in order to reduce water loss. Adjectives are usually formed in -phyllous: sclerophyllous, microphyllous; examples in other endings are known (mesophyllic, chlorophylline), but are much less common.