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I live in Brazil and many plants from the brazilian grasslands/prairies exhibit an structure called, by the brazilian literature, "xylopodium" (or "xilopódio" in portuguese) - which are tickened, underground, lignified structures (root or stem) to store water and nutrients. I couldn't really find any work outside Brazil that mentions this kind of strucutre, and as far as I know, the structure known as "caudex" fits the very same definition. That being said, are these two terms synonyms?

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The New York Botanic Garden gives the definition of xylopodium as:

An underground, woody, storage organ derived from stems or roots and common in cerrado vegetation.

And the definition of caudex as:

A short, vertical, usually woody and persistent stem at or just below the surface of the ground.

I think the main difference here is the focus on the xylopodium as a storage organ, as well as the fact that it is fully underground and can be derived from either the stem or root. A caudex doesn't necessarily primarily provide storage, and as a modified stem, is at or above the surface.


*There is also a definition of xylopodium meaning the type of fruit found in Anacardium (cashews).

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