from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The thickened, usually underground base of the stem of many perennial herbaceous plants, from which new leaves and flowering stems arise.
  • n. The trunk of a palm or tree fern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The stem of a tree., esp. a stem without a branch, as of a palm or a tree fern; also, the perennial rootstock of an herbaceous plant.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany, as used by early writers, the stem of a tree; now, the trunk of a palm or a tree-fern covered with the remains of leaf-stalks or marked with their scars; also, frequently, the perennial base of a plant which sends up new herbaceous stems from year to year in place of the old.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. woody stem of palms and tree ferns
  • n. persistent thickened stem of a herbaceous perennial plant


Latin caudex, tree trunk.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin caudex ("tree trunk”, “tree stem"); compare codex. (Wiktionary)



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