[ zeer-uh-fahyt ]

  1. a plant adapted for growth under dry conditions.

Origin of xerophyte

First recorded in 1895–1900; xero- + -phyte

Other words from xerophyte

  • xe·ro·phyt·ic [zeer-uh-fit-ik], /ˌzɪər əˈfɪt ɪk/, adjective
  • xe·ro·phyt·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • xe·ro·phyt·ism [zeer-uh-fahy-tiz-uhm, -fahy-tiz-], /ˈzɪər əˌfaɪ tɪz əm, -faɪˌtɪz-/, noun

Words Nearby xerophyte

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

British Dictionary definitions for xerophyte


/ (ˈzɪərəˌfaɪt) /

  1. a xerophilous plant, such as a cactus

Derived forms of xerophyte

  • xerophytic (ˌzɪərəˈfɪtɪk), adjective
  • xerophytically, adverb
  • xerophytism, 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

Scientific definitions for xerophyte


[ zîrə-fīt′ ]

  1. 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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.