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These adaptations are numerous and diverse; when considered with associated physiological modifications it is clear that very few generalizations should be made about xerophytes. Here the authors have sought to organise information both from an extensive literature, and from their own research, so that it can be presented in a digestible form. To make the text concise, only selected examples of detailed anatomical descriptions are provided. There are many more in the literature; for example, in other volumes in this series (such as NAPP-ZINN, 1984, 1988), books dealing with systematic plant anatomy and a plethora of papers. The more significant of them are referred to in the text.
The subject matter is organised in this way: the concept of adaptation to environment is followed by a brief consideration of arid regions and their floras; terms are defined; an account of various survival strategies is given. Next there is an account of the underlying anatomical/histological characters commonly found in the plants concerned, first in photosynthetic organs (mainly leaves) then in the plant axis (roots and stems). Adaptations to salinity are described. A brief summary section brings out the more important topics.