13 Essential Literary Terms
A plant that is adapted to an arid environment. Many xerophytes have specialized tissues (usually nonphotosynthetic parenchyma cells) for storing water, as in the stems of cacti and the leaves of succulents. Others have thin, narrow leaves, or even spines, for minimizing water loss. Xerophyte leaves often have abundant stomata to maximize gas exchange during periods in which water is available, and the stomata are recessed in depressions, which are covered with fine hairs to help trap moisture in the air. Compare hydrophyte, mesophyte.
any plant adapted to life in a dry or physiologically dry habitat (salt marsh, saline soil, or acid bog) by means of mechanisms to prevent water loss or to store available water. Succulents (plants that store water) such as cacti and agaves have thick, fleshy stems or leaves. Other xerophytic adaptations include waxy leaf coatings, the ability to drop leaves during dry periods, the ability to reposition or fold leaves to reduce sunlight absorption, and the development of a dense, hairy leaf covering