from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A slender, elastic process to which the masses of pollen in orchidaceous plants are attached.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A slender, elastic process, to which the masses of pollen in orchidaceous plants are attached.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In botany, the stalk attached to the pollenmasses of orchideous plants.
With respect to the second chief peculiarity, namely the little mass of viscid matter attached to the end of the caudicle, a long series of gradations can be specified, each of plain service to the plant.
From this simple condition, which differs but little from that of a multitude of common flowers, there are endless gradations, to species in which the pollen-mass terminates in a very short, free caudicle, to others in which the caudicle becomes firmly attached to the viscid matter, with the sterile stigma itself much modified.
In some orchids there is no caudicle to the pollen-masses, and the grains are merely tied together by fine threads; but as these are not confined to orchids, they need not here be considered; yet I may mention that at the base of the orchidaceous series, in Cypripedium, we can see how the threads were probably first developed.
That this is the origin of the caudicle, even when of considerable length and highly developed, we have good evidence in the aborted pollen-grains which can sometimes be detected embedded within the central and solid parts.
A pollinium when highly developed consists of a mass of pollen-grains, affixed to an elastic footstalk or caudicle, and this to a little mass of extremely viscid matter.
In other orchids the threads cohere at one end of the pollen-masses; and this forms the first or nascent trace of a caudicle.
If you suppose the pollen-grains to abort in the lower half of the pollinia of Epipactis, but the parallel elastic threads to remain and cohere, you have the caudicle of Orchis, and can understand the few embedded and functionless pollen-grains.
I often speculated how the caudicle of Orchis had been formed.