spa·​dix ˈspā-diks How to pronounce spadix (audio)
plural spadices ˈspā-də-ˌsēz How to pronounce spadix (audio)
: a floral spike with a fleshy or succulent axis usually enclosed in a spathe

Illustration of spadix

Illustration of spadix
  • 1 spadix

Examples of spadix in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The flower’s tall spadix, or collection of tiny flowers shaped into a spike, also produces heat to propel the odor further and attract more pollinators. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 July 2023 The plant's long central stalk, called a spadix, had been growing by a few inches a day since the beginning of March in preparation for the bloom, finally reaching more than 60 inches in height when the fleshy, dark red leaf around its base eventually unfurled on the 18th. Veronique Greenwood, Discover Magazine, 21 Mar. 2012 In a Facebook post on Monday night, the zoo said officials observed a sagging of the spadix, which is a sign that the flower will not bloom. Peter Rasmussen, San Antonio Express-News, 18 July 2022 Horticulture Manager John Clements was one of several garden employees who stayed overnight Sunday to photograph, measure, study and hand-pollinate the flowers at the base of the spadix. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2021 The chemical reaction that creates the acidic aroma also heats up the flower’s spadix in a process known as thermogenesis. San Diego Union-Tribune, 1 Nov. 2021 The flower is quite striking to look at, with a huge potatolike pod, called the spadix, rising out of a frilly and fantastically colored spath, which resembles a petal. Karl J. P. Smith, Scientific American, 29 July 2016 The tall center part, called the spadix, actually heats up to help disperse its distinct odor. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, 22 May 2019 Finally at peak bloom, the purple, velvety petal sheath opens up like an inverted umbrella to reveal the beige spadix at the center. Pam Kragen,, 15 Sep. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'spadix.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin spadic-, spadix, from Latin, frond torn from a palm tree, from Greek spadik-, spadix, from span to draw, pull

First Known Use

circa 1752, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of spadix was circa 1752

Dictionary Entries Near spadix

Cite this Entry

“Spadix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!