Many plant tissue types end in the affix -enchyma.

  • Etymology: enkhyma "infusion," from en- "in" + khein "to pour"

Examples are parenchyma, collenchyma, and sclerenchyma.

  • (meaning "to pour beside," "glue infusion," and "hard infusion.")

My question: Where did this usage of -enchyma meaning "infusion" for plant tissues come from?

  • I'm curious from a biological more so than a historical perspective. I.e., why was this word choice chosen for plant tissues?

The best explanation I've found is from Plant Systematics by Michael Simpson:

Para, beside + en-chein, to pour; in reference to the analogy that parenchyma is poured beside other tissues to fill up space.

  • So far I haven't been able to corroborate this or expand upon it...
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ According to Wikipedia, Originally, Erasistratus and other anatomists used [parenchyma] to refer to certain human tissues. Later, it was also applied to plant tissues by Nehemiah Grew. so perhaps further investigation from a human anatomy perspective will be informative $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Dec 1 '20 at 15:24
  • $\begingroup$ I'm also interested to learn more about the difference between the Greek roots for chyme vs -chyma (khūlos vs khéō) and how their origins inform this question further... $\endgroup$ – theforestecologist Dec 1 '20 at 17:28

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