-phyte Also -phyta and -phytic.
A plant or plant-like organism.
[Greek phuton, a plant, from phuein, come into being.]
Words in -phyte divide into two classes. Some describe the way plants live; for example, epiphytes (Greek epi, upon) grow on other plants. Others refer to specific groups of plants; for example, bryophytes (Greek bruon, moss) are members of a group that comprises the mosses and liverworts.
Members of the latter set are often linked to systematic names for groups that end in -phyta (from the Greek plural form phuta, plants). Two instances are Chlorophyta (Greek khlōros, green), a division of lower plants that comprises the green algae, and Pteridophyta (Greek pteris, pterid-, fern), a division of flowerless green plants that comprises the ferns and their relatives.
A less obvious member of the set is neophyte, a person who is new to a subject, skill, or belief; this is literally a person ‘newly planted’ (Greek neos, new), whose figurative sense derives from St. Paul's use of it for a new convert.
Terms ending in -phyte have associated adjectives in -phytic: epiphytic, saprophytic, xerophytic.
Examples of words in -phyte
Word origins are from Greek unless otherwise stated.
|bryophyte||a division of small flowerless green plants which comprises the mosses and liverworts||bruon, moss|
|charophyte||a division of lower plants that includes the stoneworts||Latin Chara, a plant of uncertain identity|
|dermatophyte||a pathogenic fungus that grows on skin, mucous membranes, hair, nails, feathers, and other body surfaces, causing ringworm and related diseases||derma, dermat-, skin, hide|
|endophyte||a plant, especially a fungus, which lives inside another plant||endon, within|
|epiphyte||a plant that grows on another plant, especially one that is not parasitic||epi, upon|
|gametophyte||the gamete-producing phase of a plant with alternating generations||English gamete|
|geophyte||a plant propagated by means of underground buds||gē, earth|
|halophyte||a plant adapted to growing in saline conditions, as in a salt marsh||hals, halo-, salt|
|hydrophyte||a plant which grows only in or on water||hudōr, water|
|macrophyte||a plant, especially an aquatic plant, large enough to be seen by the naked eye||makros, long, large|
|osteophyte||a bony outgrowth associated with the degeneration of cartilage at joints||osteon, bone|
|saprophyte||a plant, fungus, or micro-organism that lives on dead or decaying organic matter||sapros, putrid|
|sporophyte||the asexual phase of plants with alternating generations||spora, spore|
|xerophyte||a plant which needs very little water||xēros, dry|