Apr. 4th, 2017

prettygoodword: text: words are sexy (Default)
phreatophyte (free-AT-uh-fait) - n., a plant with long roots that absorbs water from the water table or the capillary fringe just above it.


In other words, is mostly or entirely dependent on water from a permanent ground supply. Here in the desert, our prime example is the mesquite tree, which can dig waaaay down to water, but most of our riparian vegetation, like cottonwoods and sycamores living along streams and bosques, are also phreatophytes. The latter are a good sign of water being not far from the surface. Most wetland plants are also phreatophytes -- they need that permanent water, and don't pay much attention to the rain itself. Coined in 1920 from Greek roots phreat-, stem form of phrear, well + -phyte, plant.

---L.

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