(1) An organism (plant or animal) having both male and female reproductive organs.

(2) An organism having both male and female organs, therefore, is capable of producing both male and female gametes.


A plant hermaphrodite for instance has both staminate and carpellate organs. In animals such as some pulmonate and opisthrobranch snails and slugs can act as either the male or female in a sexual reproduction. In humans, the term is used to describe an individual possessing both male and female organs. However, that individual may not be considered a true case of hermaphroditism since usually one of the two gonads present may not be functional. A true hermaphrodite refers to an individual in which both gonads are functional.

Hermaphrodites may be:

Word origin: comes from the name of the minor Greek god Hermaphroditus, son of Hermes and Aphrodite

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