We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Pith?

By C. Martin
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In botany, pith is a term used to refer to a spongy, usually soft, substance that is found in the middle of the stems and roots of many plants. Another name for this tissue is the medulla. The medulla tissue is made up of a particular type of plant cell, called parenchyma cells, which tend to be relatively large, with thin cell walls. The main functions of this tissue are nutrient storage, and the transport of nutrients through the stem, branches, leaves, and roots of the plant. A secondary definition of the term pith is in reference to the pale, spongy inner layer of rind, more properly called albedo, which is found in citrus fruits.

New pith growth is usually soft, spongy, and white or pale in color. As the tissue ages, it commonly darkens to a deeper brown. Tree pith is generally present in young growth; in the trunk and older branches, it is often mostly replaced by a woody substance called xylem. In some plants, the medulla tissue in the middle of the stem may dry out and disintegrate, resulting in a hollow stem.

Most, or all, vascular plants, also known as higher plants, have at least some medulla tissue. A key characteristic of these plants is their ability to conduct water and nutrients throughout the structure of the plant, a function in which pith plays an important part. This ability to move substances up and down the stem, and along the branches, has allowed vascular plants to evolve into species that include specimens of a very large size. Non-vascular plants, conversely, which includes plant families such as mosses, liverworts, and algae, possess neither medulla tissue, nor a transport mechanism, and this means that they can only grow to a very limited size.

Humans have found numerous practical uses for medulla tissue. In Asia, the medulla of a shrub called the rice paper plant is used to make edible rice paper. Wicks for candles have been made from the medulla tissue of certain species of rushes. The pith of a plant called the sola, which grows in swamps in India, has even been used to manufacture lightweight helmets designed to protect the wearer from the heat of the sun. These pith helmets were once popularly worn by Westerners in tropical climates, and are still frequently used in Vietnam.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By kylee07drg — On Sep 22, 2012

Pith hats can keep you really cool. Because pith can retain water so well, you can soak the hat in cool water before putting it on. It won't even lose its shape when wet.

By Oceana — On Sep 22, 2012

I heard about coir pith when I started researching ways to improve my garden. This is coconut pith, and it can really improve your soil.

It has lots of nutrients, and it's the best soil conditioner I've ever used. It makes the soil retain water, which is good for me, because I live on a hill and water tends to run right off.

I've heard that this is the same stuff they use to make doormats and rugs. It's pretty multi-functional!

By shell4life — On Sep 21, 2012

@Perdido – You can cut all the pith off if you slice it right. You start by cutting off the top and bottom of the orange.

From there, you will have a good starting point. You will be able to see the fruit and the line where the pith starts.

Just position your knife perpendicular to the pith and start slicing downward. Follow the curve of the orange. If you miss some pith, it is so easy to go back and slice it off later.

By Perdido — On Sep 20, 2012

Orange pith is so annoying. It's that white stuff that covers the actual fruit, and it seems impossible to peel all of it off.

It tastes bitter and just has a nasty texture. I usually peel an orange by hand, but even when I cut it into wedges and eat the fruit off of the rinds, I still have to be careful not to get a slice of pith in the mouthful of fruit.

Is there a good way to avoid pith when peeling an orange? Is there a certain way I should be slicing it?

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.