cryptogam, in botany, term used to denote a plant that produces spores, as in algae , fungi , mosses , and ferns , but not seeds. The term cryptogam, from the Greek kryptos, meaning hidden, and gamos, meaning marriage, was coined by 19th-century botanists because the means of sexual reproduction in these plants was not then apparent. In contrast, in the seed plants the reproductive organs are easily seen; the seed plants have accordingly been termed phanerogams, from the Greek phaneros, meaning visible.

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