noun Botany.
a bract or pair of bracts, often large and colored, subtending or enclosing a spadix or flower cluster.

1775–85; < Latin spatha < Greek spáthē blade, sword, stem; cf. spade2

spathed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
spathe (speɪð)
a large bract, often coloured, that surrounds the inflorescence of aroid plants and palms
[C18: from Latin spatha, from Greek spathē a blade]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
spathe   (spā)  Pronunciation Key 

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A large, leaflike, often showy bract that encloses a flower cluster or spadix, as in the jack-in-the-pulpit or calla lily.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
From its base comes a modified leaf called a spathe.
The bases of the panicle branches are enclosed in an inflated, tawny spathe as
  long or longer than the spikelet.
The inflorescence is enclosed by a spathe of one or two scale leaves which
  subtend the first two flowers.
The solitary flowers are borne on stalks that elongate out of a tubular sheath,
  or spathe, that is borne in the upper leaf axils.
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