xerophyte defined in 1951 yearxerophyte - xerophyte;
xerophyte - Plant of dry habitat able to endure conditions of prolonged drought, e.g. in areas of low rainfall such as deserts; due either to capacity during brief rainy seasons for internal storage of water that is used when none can be obtained from soil together with low daytime transpiration rate associated with closure of stomata, e.g. in succulents such as cacti; or to ability to recover from partial desiccation, e.g. desert shrubs such as creosote bush. As long as water is freely available there is evidence that non-succulent xerophytes transpire as, or more freely, than do mesophytes but unlike the latter they can endure periods of permanent wilting during which transpiration is reduced to very low levels. Features associated with this reduction, in different xerophytes, include dieback of leaves which cover and protect perennating buds at soil surface, shedding of leaves when water supply is exhausted, heavily cutinized or waxy leaves coupled with closure or plugging of stomata, sunken or protected stomata, orientation or folding of leaves to reduce insolation, microphyllous habit reducing possibility of drought necrosis of mesophyte. Compare with: Hydrophyte, Mesophyte.
near xerophyte in Knolik
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