Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Xeric Plants

Xeric is not a word that I come across often.
I can add it to my word hoard. I didn't know what it meant until I began looking for the common demonimator of all these plants. They all grow in Xeric environments.
Xeric means relating or adapted to an extremely dry habitat. Succulents such as cacti, aloes, and agaves are xeric plants,

Adenium obesum, commonly known as Desert Rose is one of these plants.I'm thinking of Xeric environments tonight for several reasons. Normally we are a humid, tropical, rainy island. We are currently at the beginning of an uncharacteristically dry season. We are on water rations already.
All of these plants have been grown here and they are probably breathing a sigh of relief and welcoming the hot, dry air. Good riddance to the wet, humid jungle.
Like people, plants that grow in extreme conditions, sometimes develop characteristics such as beauty or toxicity. Often the package is combined. The Desert Rose is highly toxic and cacti make no secret of their armory.
That plants emerging from water-starved, difficult environments survive using beauty and poison is interesting in a Darwinian kind of way.
Not so very different from people after all.
Xeric plants.