Caudiciforms, fat-plants or pachycauls are contemporary terms which describe plants with swollen stems. Almost all are succulents; all develop bulbous roots in which they store food for later times. Before current trends, the roots of most caudiciform plants would seldom be seen above ground.
Today, encouraged by progressive nurseries and ambitious collectors, plants with conspicuous and unusual swollen stems or caudexes, are exhibited almost like works of art. Yet there is no universal agreement which plants are caudiciforms, but most accept that the presence of enlarged roots above or below the ground, presents a strong case for inclusion.
Generally, Southern Africa, Madagascar and the Middle Eastern countries have become principal exporters of these plants. But as their popularity increases, more and more home grown produced plants are emerging.
The intention of this site is to present photographic examples of a wide range of caudiciforms, with practical information where possible.
Above and below.- Typical examples of caudiciforms with swollen caudex.
Above, a collection of Pachypodiums on display at the Exotica Nursery in Germany.
A collection of young Commiphora obicularis which are great examples of pachycauls - thick stemmed trunks which usually pass the criteria of caudiciforms.
Another great caudiciform - Gerrarddanthus macrorhizus - seen here growing in the Palmengarten in Frankfurt, Germany. This caudex can grow to well over 50 cm, and the vines produce yellowish-brown flowers.