Desiccation-Tolerant Flowering Plants in Southern Africa

Science  03 Dec 1971:
Vol. 174, Issue 4013, pp. 1033-1034
DOI: 10.1126/science.174.4013.1033


The South African flora contains a unique abundance of higher plants which withstand virtually complete desiccation. Water potentials of fielddry leaves corresponded to 30 to 40 percent relative humidity. Mature leaves survived from 15 to approximately 0 percent relative humidity. Known examples were increased from 4 to 15 species, which for the first time included grasses.

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