Based on three decades of field experience in southwest Asia, southern Africa, and the southwest United States, the author summarizes the major adaptations of plants to desert dunes. This integrative study of plant and diaspore morphology, reactive growth, life cycles, and environmental factors explains and predicts plant distribution. Many kinds of dune syndromes, plant case studies and vegetation transects are discussed and illustrated to clarify the significance of adaptations to specific habitat factors. Although the focus is on vascular plants, the development of microbiotic soil crust, its function, and its composition are discussed as well.
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