Tongue papillae. SEM of filiform papillae (cone- shaped) on the surface of the tongue. Filiform papillae are covered by stratified squamous epithelial cells (not seen). Dead cells of the uppermost layer are constantly being shed and replaced (desquamation). This gives the papillae their scaly appearance. Filiform papillae contain nerve endings that transmit tactile (touch) information to the brain. The tongue's taste buds (not seen) are less numerous than these papillae.