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The Nature HandbookA Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors$
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Ernest H. Williams Jr.

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195179293

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179293.001.0001

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DESERTS AND PRAIRIES

DESERTS AND PRAIRIES

Chapter:
(p.198) 11. DESERTS AND PRAIRIES
Source:
The Nature Handbook
Author(s):

Ernest H. Williams

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195179293.003.0011

In deserts and prairies, scarcity of water controls the shapes plants take and where they grow. A number of adaptive forms found in deserts, such as gray, hairy leaves, are repeated on mountain tops because of limited moisture, but it is in deserts that xeric adaptations (those that allow growth under dry conditions) are most conspicuous. The biological diversity of deserts is surprisingly rich, and open expanses allow one to observe stark distributional patterns in these habitats, from horizon to horizon.

Keywords:   water, plants, adaptive forms, xeric adaptations, diversity

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