succulent


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succulent

(sŭk`yələnt), any fleshy plant that belongs to one of many diverse families, among them species of cactus, aloe, stonecrop, houseleek, agave, and yucca. Most succulents are indigenous to arid or semiarid regions, and their succulence is simply an evolutionary adaptation to the extreme heat and dryness of the environment. Typically the plants have greatly reduced leaves with a hard and heavily cutinized outer surface which minimizes evaporation from the inner, juicy tissue that can retain and store water over long periods. Many are grown horticulturally for their interesting and often grotesque forms, e.g., the ice plant; a few have very attractive flowers.

Bibliography

See H. Jacobsen, A Handbook of Succulent Plants (3 vol., 1973).

Succulent

 

a perennial plant with juicy, fleshy leaves (agave, aloe) or stems (cacti, certain spurges); a special type of xero-phyte. Succulents grow in the deserts of Central, North, and South America; some are also encountered in the deserts of southern Africa. The few succulents that occur in the USSR belong to the family Crassulaceae.

The distinctive physical appearance of succulents, which evolved in the process of historical development, is related to their ability to accumulate water in their leaves or stems and to expend the water sparingly during prolonged drought. The leaves and stems have highly developed water-bearing parenchyma. The stems of some species of cacti store 1,000 to 3,000 kg of water; the plants often serve as a source of water for humans and animals during drought. The ability of succulents to expend small amounts of moisture is made possible by the heavy cutinization of the epidermis, by the presence of hairs, by the low osmotic pressure of the cellular juice, and by the presence of only a small number of low-lying stomata.

Succulents are photophilic. Growing under conditions of intense heat, they have developed an increased resistance to high temperatures as a result of the great viscosity of the plasma and the high content of bound water. At the same time, however, the protoplasm is characterized by low elasticity, and, therefore, the plants cannot tolerate dehydration.

Succulents grow slowly as a result of their economical expenditure of water and the nature of their carbon metabolism. In darkness the leaves store substantial quantities of CO2, which results in formation of organic acids. During dry seasons the stomata are closed, and the CO2 serves as the source of carbon. Part of the CO2 is released upon decomposition of the organic acids under the action of light. The formation of endogenous water during respiration maintains hydration of the cell contents and, thus, is of great importance in the life of succulents.

Succulents are widely used as ornamentals (cacti, aloe) and textile plants (agave). Some, for example, opuntias, are used as animal feed. The leaf and stem structure of succulents is also characteristic of many solonchak plants, although the latter have no adaptations for lowering transpiration.

REFERENCES

Warming, E. Raspredelenie rastenii v zavisimosti ot vneshnikh uslovii (ekologicheskaia geografiia rastenii). St. Petersburg, 1902. (Translated from German.)
Genkel’, P. A. “Fiziologiia ustoichivosti rastitel’nykh organizmov.” In Fiziologiia sel’skokhoziaistvennykh rastenii, vol. 3. Moscow, 1967.
Vartapetian, B. B. Molekuliarnyi kislorod i voda v metabolizme kletki. Moscow, 1970.

P. A. GENKEL’

succulent

[′sək·yə·lənt]
(botany)
Describing a plant having juicy, fleshy tissue.

succulent

1. (of plants) having thick fleshy leaves or stems
2. a plant that is able to exist in arid or salty conditions by using water stored in its fleshy tissues
References in classic literature ?
They lived on an almost straight- meat diet of moose, caribou, and smoked salmon, eked out with wild berries and somewhat succulent wild roots they had stocked up with in the summer.
To the soup succeeded some beefsteaks, compressed by an hydraulic press, as tender and succulent as if brought straight from the kitchen of an English eating-house.
So again, many succulent plants cannot endure a damp climate.
The number of beautiful fishing birds, such as egrets and cranes, and the succulent plants assuming most fantastical forms, gave to the scene an interest which it would not otherwise have possessed.
Naturally I love her--she is so pretty that anybody with eyes in his head must love her--but too much of anything is bad, and next month the passages and offices are to be whitewashed, and people who have ever whitewashed their houses inside know what nice places they are to live in while it is being done; and there will be no dinner for Irais, and none of those succulent salads full of caraway seeds that she so devotedly loves.
Wilcox's direction, cut the meat where it was succulent, and piled their plates high.
Among the trees they were continually cutting with their scythes the so-called "birch mushrooms," swollen fat in the succulent grass.
And so it went, verses new and old, verses without end, all in glorification of the succulent shellfish of Carmel.
Position the succulent on the wreath, then wrap the wire around to the back, twisting it to secure.
com has creative summer DIY kits that make succulent terrariums fun and easy to do-it-yourself.
For all those out there with a green thumb and the gardening skills to nurse and admire cacti and other plants of the kind, the Cyprus Cactus and Succulent Society (CCSS) is putting on its eighth annual exhibition of cacti and other succulents tomorrow at the Acropolis park in Nicosia.
If there is ever a doubt about whether or not to water a succulent, not watering is the correct choice.