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An essay on the biological make up and properties of xerophytes,

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Introduction

Charlie Moore 30th March 2005 An essay on the biological make up and properties of xerophytes, In this essay I am going to explain the biological properties of xerophytes. Xerophytes are plants which are adapted to live in dry conditions. When there is a lot of water the rate of transpiration is about equal to the rate of transpiration of other plants. However in long droughts xerophytes can continue to photosynthesise and grow this is possible because xerophytes have several survival characteristics which enable them to live successfully in areas of low water concentration. All cacti are xerophytes and most desert plants and trees are xerophytes. ...read more.

Middle

This reduces the chances of wind moving the moist air layer away from the xerophyte plant. The trapped layer of air increases the thickness of the boundary layer which in turn reduces the rate at which water vapour can diffuse from the leaf into the air. This is also achieved by the stomata which have been sunk into pits or grooves or depressions in the leaf surface. The spines and hairs on the xerophytes also put off animals and humans from preying on them. Stomata in xerophytes do not open during the day so the question of how do they photosynthesise can be asked. ...read more.

Conclusion

Xerophytes also have a deep network of roots to draw up as much water and minerals as possible. These roots are quite wide spread with fibrous roots near the soil surface to absorb maximum water during rain or desert storms. Xerophytes also have a low growth form which reduces the loss of water from wind. Xerophytes also store water in bulbs underground these bulbs sometimes spend a period of dormancy during drought conditions. In conclusion xerophytes have adapted to desert conditions by having thick cuticles fewer numbers of stomata, smaller and fewer leaves, hairs and spines on the leaves to deter predators and to collect water, aerodynamic shapes to lower wind resistance, wide spread deep rooting to collect maximum water and a water reservoir in the stem or underground bulb of the xerophyte. ...read more.

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