Leaves of geophytes collect and retain water from fog and dew by morphological adaptation of their aerial parts.

References

"In the semidesert of Namaqualand and adjacent regions of the former Cape Province, South Africa, there occurs an assemblage of geophytes belonging to eight monocot families and some Oxalis species that exhibit special morphological adaptations of their aerial parts to harvest and absorb water from dew and fog, the main source of moisture in this region...These morphomes, rare elsewhere among monocotyledons, promote an increased deposit of dew and fog by enlargement of surfaces and edges, keeping at the same time the overall size of the leaves restricted. They improve the water budget of these plants in three ways: (1) remnant water on the aerial parts retards the transpiration stress at day-time; (2) although special organs for direct absorption seem to be absent, field and laboratory tests show, that considerable uptake of water occurs but in quantities not exceeding that capacity found in many non-desert plants; (3) the water harvest of the leaves dripping to the soil and reaching the root zone, where it is stored in tubers, bulbs, corms and rhizomes, appears to be the main contribution. Experiments using artificial, directional fog and metal models imitating the natural profiles demonstrate that a surplus of water in efficiency rates of 0.1–66% is collected by the various surface types compared to a standard model with a non-sculptured (plain) frontal surface of the same size." (Vogel S; Müller-Doblies U. 2011:3)

"The peculiar leaf structures they exhibit [described in next quote], plus a special kind of ciliation, – structures rarely found in the plant kingdom outside our region – apparently induce dew and fog water to settle more copiously than on plain leaves." (Vogel S; Müller-Doblies U. 2011:29)

"Although among the geophytic Namaqualand monocot species a fair number bearing 'conventional' foliage occur, a great deal exhibit a striking peculiarity: The leaves, rarely axes and leaf appendages, are curiously modified, being twisted, crisped, curled, pleated or undulate in many different ways, and/or their pilosity has an uncommon appearance. Resident botanists aware of this oddity, therefore call the area the “curly-whirly-country”. Members of 8 families: Amaryllidaceae (55 sp.), Anthericaceae (1 sp.), Asphodelaceae (13), Colchicaceae, Eriospermaceae (20), Hyacinthaceae (100), Hypoxidaceae (6), Iridaceae (80), and Orchidaceae (4) have this trait in common, amounting to 294 species (Table 1, Figs. 3–41). Among dicotyledons, only some species of Oxalis seem to join...the water stress remains as potential motivation. (Vogel S; Müller-Doblies U. 2011:18,21)

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Living System/s

Organism
AlbucaSpecies