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(păp`əs), fl. c.300, Greek mathematician of Alexandria. He recorded and enlarged on the results of his predecessors, including Euclid and Apollonius of Perga, in his Mathematical Collection (8 books; date conjectural). The six and a half extant books, edited and translated into Latin by Commandinus (1588), stimulated a revival of geometry in the 17th cent.; Descartes expounded several of his problems. The collection was reedited by Frederick Hultsch (1876–78). Pappus' other works include a commentary on Ptolemy's Almagest.


See T. L. Heath, A Manual of Greek Mathematics (1931).



a winglike growth or very large trichome on the fruits and seeds of many plants. The pappus assists in the spreading of the fruits and seeds by the wind.



(Pappus of Alexandria). Years of birth and death unknown. Greek mathematician of the second half of the third century.

Pappus was the author of Mathematical Collections in eight books, only the last six of which are extant. The first two books were devoted to arithmetic, and the third through fifth books deal primarily with geometry. The sixth is on astronomy, the seventh contains a commentary on the works of Apollonius of Perga, including the latter’s Conic Sections, and the eighth deals with mechanics. Pappus’ work, a compendium of many works that have since been lost, is a valuable source for the history of Hellenistic mathematics.


Pappi Alexandrini collectionis quae supersunt, vols. 1–3. Edited by F. Hultsch. Berlin, 1876–78.


Heiberg, J. L. Estestvoznanie i matematika v klassicheskoi drevnosti. Moscow-Leningrad, 1936. (Translated from German.)
Sarton, G. A. A History of Science. Cambridge, Mass., 1952.



the aggregate of hairs or scales in a ring of one, two, or more rows on the apex of the inferior ovary and fruit of most plants of the families Compositae, Valerianaceae, and some others. The pappus helps in the distribution of seeds and fruits by means of wind, water, and animals.


An appendage or group of appendages consisting of a modified perianth on the ovary or fruit of various seed plants; adapted to dispersal by wind and other means.
References in periodicals archive ?
Cypselae oblong to sub-obovate, truncate, attenuate to rostrate at the apex, glabrous to pubescent, sometimes dimorphic with the marginal cypselae conspicuously larger than the central ones; pappus of scabrid to plumose bristles, capillary to narrowly paleaceous, often plumose only at the apex, equal to different in length, less commonly reduced to a crown of fringed scales, or pappus absent.
7a Phyllaries subequal, decurrent onto peduncle; cypselae puberulent; pappus bristles fragile, sometimes individually deciduous Eurydochus 7b Phyllaries graduated, peduncles sometimes bracteate, but the bracts leaf-like and not resembling the phyllaries; cypselae glabrous; pappus bristles persistent Gongylolepis 6b Capitulescence lateral, three- to nine-headed; capitula commonly small, < 6 mm wide, two- to six-flowered; involucre cylindrical.
Cypselae truncate to shortly attenuate at the apex, pubescent; pappus of scabrid, capillary bristles.
Cypselae truncate at the apex, densely pubescent; pappus of scabrid, capillary bristles, unequal in length.
Cypselae truncate to attenuate at the apex, glabrous; pappus of plumose, capillary bristles.
Cypselae pubescent; pappus of scabrid, capillary bristles, absent in male florets.
Cypselae rostrate, slightly constricted to attenuate at the apex, glabrous to pubescent; pappus of plumose, capillary bristles, occasionally barbellate to ciliate.
Cypselae constricted at the apex, pubescent; pappus of scabrid to plumose, capillary bristles.
Corollas villose, central florets tubular-funnelform with equal to unequal segments, marginal florets bilabiate to sub-ligulate; anther apical appendages obtuse, tails long to short; style bifid to bilobed, branches smooth to dorsally papillose above or above and below the branch bifurcation point; pappus generally of plumose bristles, the bristles constituted by barnadesioid hairs, scaly, or rarely absent.
Cypselae pubescent; pappus of barbellate bristles, widened and plumose at the apex.
Pappus, who ran on well when beaten a head in a Listed event over this course and distance three weeks ago, will be out to exploit any stamina deficiencies in the Schtz pair, while Hans Blume's Well Made, who like Samum holds an entry in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, was a late withdrawal from an easier race at Hanover last Sunday, having reportedly received a knock in his horsebox beforehand.
micrantha are opened when wetted by rain, as are also the pappus of the achenes.