One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A spike of minute flowers closely arranged around a fleshy axis and typically enclosed in a spathe, characteristic of the arums.
- ‘The flower head consists of a spathe and spadix.’
- ‘The fruit is composed of a mass of berries on a spadix, the fleshy central spike first seen in the flower.’
- ‘In the male zone, the mature spadix is lined with longitudinal resiniferous canals located at the base of the stamens.’
- ‘The perfect bloom was not expected because visitors had hurled stones at the flower, bruising the spadix.’
(in certain invertebrates) a part or organ which is more or less conical in shape, e.g. a group of connected tentacles in a nautiloid.
Mid 18th century: via Latin from Greek, literally ‘palm branch’.
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