Vallate papillae is short for the circumvallate papillae. These papillae are easily identified as the round, dome shaped lumps that look out of place along the back of the tongue. There are usually eight to twelve and they form a V shape pointed to the back of the throat.
Like the foliate papillae and filiform papillae, the circumvallate papillae house taste buds and receptors. They are different from the other tongue papillae in that they are surrounded by a circular trench or moat. Gland cells at the bottom of the trench continually secrete fluid/mucus containing enzymes for digestion. The fluid also flushes the moat allowing the taste buds to respond quickly to new chemicals. This allows the brain to sense new tastes as substances in the mouth change.
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