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From Biology-Online Dictionary | Biology-Online Dictionary
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noun, plural: cortexes, cortices

(anatomy) The outer layer or region of a structure or an internal organ

(botany) The tissue between the vascular tissue and the epidermis, or between the vascular tissue and the periderm of the bark in woody plants


In anatomy, the term cortex pertains typically to the outer region or layer of a certain internal organ or a structure. An example is the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is the outer layer of the cerebrum of vertebrates. Another is the renal cortex. The renal cortex pertains to the outer portion of the kidney. In botany, the cortex pertains to the tissue of the stem and the root that lies outward to the vascular tissues. It may be located between the vascular tissues and the epidermis in certain plants. In woody plants, the cortex is located between the vascular tissue (particularly phloem) and the periderm. The cortex, therefore, is a component of the tree bark. In mycology, the cortex may pertain to the surface tissue layer of a fungus or lichen. The fungal cortex is composed of massed hyphal cells.

Related term(s):

Related form(s):

  • cortical (adjective, of, pertaining to, or relating to, cortex)