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A plant with a deep root system which obtains water from the groundwater or the capillary fringe above the water table.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a plant with an extremely deep root system that uses groundwater as its source of moisture. A classical example is the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera), which grows on oases in the Sahara and the Arabian Peninsula. (An ancient Arabic proverb says that the date palm has its head in fire and its feet in water.) Phreatophytes occur in the subtropical eucalyptus forests on the eastern coast of Australia. They serve as indicators of the depth and salinity of the groundwater. For example, the licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is an indicator of fresh water at depths of 5 to 10 m, and Halostachys caspica indicates salt water at depths of 5 to 15 m. Typical phreatophytes include many desert and semidesert plants, for example, camelthorn (Alhagi camelorum), tamarisk (Tamarix), and Achnatherum.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Phreatophytes are deeply rooted plants that use groundwater to fulfill parts of their water needs (Thomas, 2014).
phreatophytes within a National Forest." (187) The answer to the
Groundwater discharge may also occur through the phreatophyte vegetation (Prosopis flexuosa woodlands), estimated by Jobbagy et al.
Water uptake in woody riparian phreatophytes of the Southwestern United States: A Stable Isotope Study.
The marked seasonal phenology, independent of current soil moisture, would be expected of a deep-rooted phreatophyte, but as indicated previously, Prosopis in the Jornada Basin is unlikely to have access to the water table, and small shrubs exhibit the same phenological patterns as do large shrubs.
In addition to this total, roughly half a million acre-feet were lost due to phreatophyte and operational inefficiency losses.
Management of phreatophyte and riparian vegetation for maximum multiple use values.
Salix tended to exhibit tissue water relations values that were intermediate between those of Tamarix, a salt-tolerant facultative phreatophyte, and Populus, a mesophytic obligate phreatophyte.
Comparison of phreatophyte communities on the Rio Grande in New Mexico.
Groundwater discharge by phreatophyte shrubs in the Great Basin related to depth to groundwater.