Intro | Facial Nerve | Glossopharyngeal Nerve | Gustatory Nucleus | Papilla | Primary Gustatory Cortex | Secondary Gustatory Cortex | Taste Buds | Tongue | Vagus Nerve | Ventral Posterior Nucleus
Part 1: Image-Mapped Tutorial
Part 2: Matching Self-Test
Part 3: Multiple-Choice Self-Test
Return to main tutorial page
Papillae (singular papilla) are nodules on the surface of the tongue that increase the surface area for the taste buds. Not all papillae, however, contain taste buds. The papillae also appear to aid in the mechanical handling of food, providing a rough surface. The surface of the tongue is divided into three regions that are distinguished by the appearance of the papillae in that region. The anterior two-thirds of the tongue contains the fungiform papillae. Each fungiform papilla contains up to eight taste buds, as well as somatosensory receptors for the sensations of pressure, touch, and temperature. The back edge of the tongue is marked by up to eight parallel folds called foliate papillae. The foliate papillae contain a total of approximately 1,300 taste buds. The final group of papillae is located in an inverted-V shape across the posterior third of the tongue. These circumvallate papillae are distinguished by their broad flat surface at the tongue's surface, surrounded by deep and wide recesses. They contain a total of approximately 250 taste buds.