xerophyte

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xerophyte A plant that is adapted to live in conditions in which there is either a scarcity of water in the soil, or the atmosphere is dry enough to provoke excessive transpiration, or both. Xerophytes have special structural (xeromorphic) and functional modifications, including swollen water-storing stems or leaves (see succulent) and specialized leaves that may be hairy, rolled, or reduced to spines or have a thick cuticle to lower the rate of transpiration. Examples of xerophytes are desert cacti and many species growing on sand dunes and exposed moorlands. Some halophytes have xeromorphic features. Compare mesophyte; hydrophyte.

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xe·ro·phyte / ˈzi(ə)rəˌfīt/ • n. Bot. a plant that needs very little water. DERIVATIVES: xe·ro·phyt·ic / ˌzi(ə)rəˈfitik/ adj.

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xerophyte A plant (usually a xeromorph) that can grow in very dry conditions and is able to withstand periods of drought. The adaptations include an ability to store water, waxy leaves and leaves reduced to spines to avoid water loss through transpiration, and short life cycles (ephemeral) that can be completed when sufficient water is available.

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xerophyte Any plant that evolved to survive in dry conditions, in areas subject to drought, or in physiologically dry areas (such as salt marshes and acid bogs) where saline or acid conditions make the uptake of water difficult. A succulent, such as a cactus, has thick fleshy leaves and a stem for storing water. Other adaptations include the ability to reduce water loss by shedding leaves during drought, or having waxy or hairy leaf coatings or reduced leaf area.

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xerophyte (zerophyte) A plant that can grow in very dry conditions and is able to withstand periods of drought. The adaptations include an ability to store water, waxy leaves and leaves reduced to spines to avoid water loss through transpiration, and short life cycles (ephemeral) that can be completed when sufficient water is available.