How Xerophytes Are Adapted for Water Loss

Topics: Photosynthesis, Leaf, Water Pages: 3 (1256 words) Published: February 6, 2013
Biology essay: describe the adaptations shown by xerophytes to reduce water loss A Xerophyte is a type of plant that is well adapted to water. Water loss is something that is very bad for the plants if the ratio of water lost to water taken in is too drastic. The cells may lose their turgidity and may even submit to plasmolysis, which will result in the plant wilting and eventually dying. Water loss via transpiration (loss of water vapour from the aerial parts of a plant due to evaporation) is fundamentally inevitable due to the fact that plants exchange gases with the atmosphere, via their stomata-the pores in a leafs epidermis . The bad aspect of this is the fact that the plants must photosynthesise in order to acquire the energy vital for their survival; for this exchange to occur the plant must be able to allow the gases in and out of the leaves, and to do this the stomata must open, meaning that water can be lost due to the opening of an exit, and also the change in the water vapour potential gradient. Water potential is the measure of the tendency/ability of water to move freely in a solution. Water moves from an area of high water potential to an area of lower water potential, and this is what causes the water vapour in the plant to be lost to the outside atmosphere, due to the difference in the water potential gradient, and we call this “moving along the water potential gradient”. If the water potential outside the plant was higher than the water potential inside the plant, then the plant would absorb water vapour rather than lose it, but because of the extreme weather conditions, and the difference in water potential the plant loses rather than gains water. The potential of water vapour is the same concept, and simply means the same thing but in terms of the gaseous form of water. Most plants can reduce water loss by structural and behavioural adaptations such as: * A waxy cuticle on the leaf will reduce water loss due to evaporation through the...
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