• WordNet 3.6
    • n Vallisneria eelgrass; eel grass
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n vallisneria A genus of monocotyledonous plants, of the order Hydrocharideæ, type of the tribe Vallisnerieæ. It is distinguished from the other two genera of the tribe by its simple perianth, fewer stamens(one to three), and the absence of a beak to the fruit. There is but one species, V. spiralis, the tape-grass or eel-grass, an aquatic plant common in fresh water, especially slow-flowing rivers, throughout the temperate and warmer regions of both hemispheres. It is a submerged herb with a very short stem, sometimes stoloniferous; very long and narrowly linear leaves crowded together at the base within a short sheath; and diœcious flowers on scapes, the male scapes very short, bearing clusters of buds within a spathe. These buds break from their short pedicels, and rise to the surface, where they open, and shed their pollen among the fertile flowers, which are raised to the surface on long filiform scapes. These latter subsequently coil up spirally, drawing the fertilized flowers under water to mature their fruit, which is berry-like, cylindrical, and elongated, and filled with numerous oblong seeds. The plant is common in cultivation in aquariums, its rapid growth aiding to aerate the water. In streams flowing into Chesapeake Bay, where it grows in great masses, it is known as water-celery or wild celery, and is said to be a favorite food of the canvasback duck and of the terrapin, and to impart to them their peculiar flavor. In Australia it is locally known as spring-plant. The square or oblong cells of its delicate flat leaves often exhibit to a remarkable degree the phenomenon of cyclosis, or active movement of protoplasm, the current of protoplasm carrying all the cell-contents, including the chlorophyl-grains and nucleus, in continual rotation around the cell, close to the inside of its wall. It is therefore much used for laboratory demonstration. See cut under dioecious.
    • n vallisneria [lowercase] A plant of this genus.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Vallisneria val-is-nē′ri-a a genus of the natural order of plants Hydrocharideæ.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Named after Antonio Vallisneri (1661-1730), an Italian naturalist.


In literature:

Anthers of Vallisneria float to the Stigmas 279.
"The Temple of Nature; or, the Origin of Society" by Erasmus Darwin
Lymnea are all fond of substantial dishes, and eat as much vallisneria as they do of the mucuous growth.
"The Book of the Aquarium and Water Cabinet" by Shirley Hibberd