Definition of Xerophytes

Plant species that get adapted and survive the dry climatic conditions
Examples: Catcus, opuntia, bromeliads,aloe vera

More About Xerophytes

  • Xerpophytes are the plants that get adapted to the dessert or arid conditions such as water scarcity, dry air and hot temperature
  • They have well developed morphology and physiology to suit the dessert conditions
  • The main adaptation of the xerophytes is reduced surface area for minimising the loss of water through evaporation, also known as transpiration
  • The following are the ways in which the xerophytes adapt themselves to the dry environment
  • They have specialised tissues, non photosynthetic parenchyma cells for storing water
  • Water storing by the plant parts is known as ‘succulence’
  • The water storing structures in some xerophytic plants are roots, trunks, stem and leaves
  • Some have thin or narrow leaves, or leaves modified into spine for reducing the water loss
  • There are numerous’ stomata’ that can help massive amounts of gaseous exchange
  • The opening of the stomata are also adapted to open only during the night to reduce evaporation
  • Presence of thick and fleshy stem, waxy leaf coating reflect sunlight and reduce evaporation
  • Development of hairy leaf covering to break the wind and reduce the air flow and ability to fold the leaves
  • Some plants may drop their leaves in dryness
  • The two types of the Xerophytes are
  • i) Succulent plants: Plants that store water in stems or leaves. Example: The plants belonging to Cactaceae
  • ii) Bulbs: Water stored in the underground parts of the plant. These generally remain dormant during the drought season.