Ecophysiology of xerophytic and halophytic vegetation of a coastal alluvial plain in northern Venezuela: II. Cactaceae
LÜTTGE U., MEDINA E., CRAM WJ., LEE HSJ., POPP M., SMITH JAC.
In an ecophysiological field investigation of plant communities of vegetation islands of an alluvial plain in northern Venezuela the members of the Cactaceae, Pereskia guamacho, and a columnar ceroid cactus, Subpilosocereus ottonis, were studied. The alluvial plain was flooded by fresh water in the rainy season in November/December 1985 and was dry and saline in the dry season in March/April 1986. The highly succulent leaves of P. guamacho were shed in the dry season. They performed C3 photosynthesis in the wet season and did not show signs of considerable salt accumulation. P. guamacho avoids stress due to drought and salinity by leaf‐shedding. The columnar stem succulent ceroids are salt‐excluding plants with crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM). Rapid die back and regeneration of absorptive roots, water parenchyma and CAM, with the possibility of nocturnal stomatal closure and CO2 recycling, are traits of adaptive value under fluctuating conditions between rainy and dry seasons on the alluvial plain. Copyright © 1989, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved