from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In phytogeography, the character presented by a type of foliage reduced in size, thickened, and hardened in response to conditions of physiological dryness.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
It’s called sclerophylly, and it’s a botanical term.
Height and deciduousness decrease towards the south, while succulence, sclerophylly and spinescence increase; this is a pattern that closely mirrors the rainfall gradient of the area.
Towards the south, the highly erratic distribution of rainfall requires that plants be able to utilize soil moisture whenever available; succulence, sclerophylly, deciduousness and spinescence are some of strategies adapted for coping with such environmental conditions.
More technically, the New Phytologist of October 2003 defines some of the traits shown in a study of sclerophylly: “Of the structural properties, strength, toughness and flexural stiffness each made substantial independent contributions to the variation in sclerophylly indices, but the best individual explanators were flexural stiffness and strength.”
According to Mike Davis, a California writer and urban critic who likes to flirt, passionately, with catastrophe, botanical sclerophylly is “the development of small, tough, evergreen leaves…as a defense against drought.”
Like most transplanted species, they want a lot of care and attention to survive, even those who’ve developed sclerophylly.