Hilum (biology)

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The hilum is the white region in the center of the namesake "black eye" of the black-eyed pea

In botany, a hilum (pronounced /ˈhləm/) is a scar or mark left on a seed coat by the former attachment to the ovary wall or to the funiculus (which in turn attaches to the ovary wall). On a bean seed, the hilum is called the "eye".

For some species of fungus, the hilum is the microscopic indentation left on a spore when it separates from the sterigma of the basidium.[1]

A hilum can also be a nucleus of a starch grain; the point around which layers of starch are deposited.

The adjectival form hilar denotes the presence of such a mark, and can be used as a distinguishing characteristic of a seed or spore.


  1. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CABI. p. 317. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8.