Phreatophyte

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phreatophyte

[frē′ad·ə‚fīt]
(ecology)
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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Phreatophyte

 

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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Use of this water could lower the static ground-water levels below the depth that the various desert phreatophytes can reach.
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Both models indicate a benefit from large, current-year floods, underscoring the sensitivity of dryland floodplain phreatophytes to low soil moisture availability (Gazal et al., 2006; Thomas, 2014).
Thus, the species may serve as a model organism for herbaceous riparian phreatophytes. Although published demographic studies are rare, first-year growth appears to be entirely devoted to nonreproductive structures, with flowers first appearing during the second growing season (Platt, 1988, in Bender et al., 2000).
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In addition to this total, roughly half a million acre-feet were lost due to phreatophyte and operational inefficiency losses.