Tongue and Papillae



The tongue is the sense organ for taste. It is made up of several muscle elements and is a flexible part. It has two types of muscles, one of the muscles that performs delicate movements and the other that performs larger movements (mastication and swallowing). The tongue is attached to the throat and is placed on the hyoid bone. It contains the following parts: the papillae, taste buds and lingual tonsils. The papillae are present on the upper surface and the sense of taste is associated with them.


Papillae are very small finger-like projections located on the surface of the tongue. There are three kinds of papillae on the tongue surface: circumvallate, fungiform and filiform. Circumvallate (8-12 in number) are the largest papillae located at the back side of the tongue; they are round in shape. Fungiform are small mushroom-like projections at the tip and the sides of the tongue and filiform are the most abundant papillae covering the entire surface of the tongue. All papillae contain taste buds, except the filiform.

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