How Xerophytes Are Adapted To Their Habitat

A plant species that is adapted to exist in an environment with minimal liquid water is called a xerophyte. Deserts are the primary habitat for xerophytes.

How xerophytes are adapted to their habitat

Characteristics of xerophytes

  • Thick cuticle.
  • Stomatal closure.
  • Reduction of stomata.
  • Stomata hidden in crypts or depressions in leaf surface (less exposure to wind and sun).
  • Reduction in size of transpiration surface (lower leaf only).
  • Increased water storage.
  • Thicker leaves and stems, or leaves reduced in, or leaves drop off during dry season.
  • Leaves covered with silvery hairs (creates wind break & light reflective surface).
  • Deep taproots or widespreading fibrous roots near the soil surface.
  • Low growth form (reduces H2O loss from wind).
  • Reduced life cycles.

Morphological adaptation of xerophytes
Morphological adaptation is a structural change which gives an organism a greater chance of survival in its habitat. For xerophytic plants are: Stems of woody xerophytes are comparatively stunted, hard and rigid and covered with thick bark.

10 examples of xerophytes

  1. Pineapple
  2. Mexican giant cactus
  3. Queen of the night
  4. Devil’s backbone
  5. Mountain pine
  6. Asthma plant
  7. Kalanchoe pinnata
  8. Saguaro
  9. Barbary fig
  10. Peyote

Plants that can survive in aquatic environments like water lilies, sedges, crow foots are called hydrophytes. Plants that can survive in moderate climates like corn (maize), cucurbits, lilac, goldenrod, clover, mango are called mesophytes. Plants that can survive in physiologically dry conditions are called xerophytes. Plants that grow in marshy places near seashore known as the mangrove or tidal woodland are also called helophilous halophytes.

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