Phylloclade(redirected from phylloclades)
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the modified shoot of a plant whose stems have acquired a leaflike shape and perform the function of photosynthesis. The actual leaves are reduced and are represented by scales located along the edges or on the surface of the phylloclades. Inflorescences or solitary flowers develop in the axils of the scalelike leaves. Some plant morphologists use the term “phylloclades” only as a designation for flat, leaflike shoots that rapidly finish their growth; the term “cladodes” is used to designate leaflike shoots having a long growth period. Other plant morphologists regard the two terms as synonyms. Phylloclades are found in plants of various families distributed mainly in arid places. It is conjectured that phylloclades, like phyllodes (see), are an adaptation to decreased transpiration.