Caudex succulents

A caudex is just a swelling of the stem or branch of a plant, usually with the purpose of storing water. Plants with caudices (caudices is the plural of caudex) might have swollen roots or stems. We call them caudiciforms.

They might not be succulents as such, but are usually included with the succulents because they are adapted to store water.

This is called Dioscorea elephantipes. It used to be called Testudinaria elephantipes because the caudex looks like the shell of the the Testudo tortoise. Do you think it looks a little like an elephant’s foot as well?

Caudiciforms come in many strange shapes and some of them can grow quite large.

They have normal leaves and shoots during their growing period, but these will disappear when they are resting, just like trees which lose their leaves in winter.

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