• synonyms


noun, plural cau·di·ces [kaw-duh-seez] /ˈkɔ dəˌsiz/, cau·dex·es. Botany.
  1. the main stem of a tree, especially a palm or tree fern.
  2. the woody or thickened persistent base of an herbaceous perennial.
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Origin of caudex

1820–30; < Latin: tree trunk; cf. codex
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for caudex

Historical Examples of caudex

  • Kydia continues; a fine Palm, caudex 8-10-pedali; it probably belongs to the genus Wallichia?

    Journals of Travels in Assam, Burma, Bhootan, Afghanistan and The

    William Griffith

  • The name of a book, caudex, codex, was first given to these tabellae when they were strung together to form a square book.

  • Where the stem of the Fern is upright it is properly termed a caudex, whilst in its horizontal form it is spoken of as a rhizome.

    How to Know the Ferns

    S. Leonard Bastin

  • A very characteristic feature of the Male Fern is its stout and sometimes very upright stem or caudex.

    How to Know the Ferns

    S. Leonard Bastin

  • Caudex arhorescens cicatricibus basibusve foliorum exasperatus?

British Dictionary definitions for caudex


noun plural -dices (-dɪˌsiːz) or -dexes
  1. the thickened persistent stem base of some herbaceous perennial plants
  2. the woody stem of palms and tree ferns
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Word Origin for caudex

C19: from Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

caudex in Science


  1. The thickened, usually underground base of the stem of many perennial herbaceous plants, from which new leaves and flowering stems arise.
  2. The trunk of a palm or tree fern.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.