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[kaw-deks] /ˈkɔ dɛks/
noun, plural caudices
[kaw-duh-seez] /ˈkɔ dəˌsiz/ (Show IPA),
caudexes. Botany
the main stem of a tree, especially a palm or tree fern.
the woody or thickened persistent base of an herbaceous perennial.
Origin of caudex
1820-30; < Latin: tree trunk; cf. codex Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for caudex
  • Tine-leaved milk-vetch is a coarse perennial with a woody taproot below a subsurface woody caudex.
  • Clammy ground cherry is perennial from a deeply buried caudex.
  • Slender locoweed is perennial from a heavy taproot topped by a knobby underground crown called a caudex.
  • Each year new shoots form along the edges of the woody caudex.
  • Yellow coneflower is a native perennial herb growing from a woody caudex up to one meter or taller.
  • Multiple stems grow from a woody caudex which is in turn attached to the deep tap root system of this species.
  • It can be identified by its alternate, pinnately compound leaves and multiple stems which arise annually from a woody caudex.
  • Several ascending to erect stems arise from a branched caudex.
  • Multiple stems grow from a woody caudex which is attached to the perennial root system of this legume species.
  • Stems, one to several, arise from a thick taproot or superficial or subterranean caudex.
British Dictionary definitions for caudex


noun (pl) -dices (-dɪˌsiːz), -dexes
the thickened persistent stem base of some herbaceous perennial plants
the woody stem of palms and tree ferns
Word Origin
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
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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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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