One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A plant with a deep root system that draws its water supply from near the water table.
- ‘Diurnal water table fluctuations can be considered a diagnostic indicator of groundwater consumption by phreatophytes at most sites.’
- ‘This and other species of Prosopis are considered as facultative phreatophytes, i.e. with roots that can take water from shallow and deep soil horizons.’
1920s: from Greek phrear, phreat- ‘a well’ + -phyte.
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