What are xerophytic plants?

With the arrival of summer there are some plants in our garden that are having a wonderful time. Heat, high temperatures, occasional watering, sporadic fertilization… Undoubtedly, conditions very similar to those of their places of origin.

By the way, did you know that this type of plant beings are also known as xerophytic plants ?


The word xerophyte comes from the Greek, which means xero-: dry and -fita: plant. They are plants that have adapted to the scarcity of water , modifying their leaves and stems in such a way that every drop of the precious liquid that lands on or around the plant will absorb it. Thus, xerophytes have long roots, very small leaves with few pores, or may even have spines.

Echinocactus texensis

In many cases, the plant has well kept its water reserve in the stems , which thicken. Some examples would be cacti or caudiciforms (such as Adenium obesum ).


Other examples of xerophytic plants are those that have covered their leaves with hair or wax to maintain a suitable leaf temperature. So are those that roll them up to reduce the perspiration surface – a vital function that involves significant water consumption.

Olea europaea

Thus, in our country we find many of them. Especially in the Mediterranean region, where rainfall is very low and plants must adapt if they want to survive. Its leaves are usually small to prevent it from consuming more water than it will have throughout the season.

Lavender, rosemary, olive, wild olive, oleander… they are all exceptional plants to have in a low-maintenance garden, as they are experts in growing with a few hundred liters of water per year.

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