a plant adapted for growth under dry conditions.

Origin of xerophyte

First recorded in 1895–1900; xero- + -phyte
Related formsxe·ro·phyt·ic [zeer-uh-fit-ik] /ˌzɪər əˈfɪt ɪk/, adjectivexe·ro·phyt·i·cal·ly, adverbxe·ro·phyt·ism [zeer-uh-fahy-tiz-uh m, -fahy-tiz-] /ˈzɪər əˌfaɪ tɪz əm, -faɪˌtɪz-/, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for xerophyte



a xerophilous plant, such as a cactus
Derived Formsxerophytic (ˌzɪərəˈfɪtɪk), adjectivexerophytically, adverbxerophytism, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for xerophyte

1906, from xero- + Greek phyton "a plant" (see phyto-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

xerophyte in Science



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.
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