A Desert Rhubarb: A Self-Irrigating Plant

The desert rhubarb has a remarkable ability to move water in channels down its leaves in a way that lets water penetrate much deeper than other plants can:

Ecologists had been puzzling over the desert rhubarb for years: Instead of the tiny, spiky leaves found on most desert plants, this rare rhubarb boasts lush green leaves up to a meter wide. Now scientists from the University of Haifa-Oranim in Israel have discovered that ridges in the plant’s giant leaves actually collect water and channel it down to the plant’s root system, harvesting up to 16 times more water than any other plant in the region.

“It is the first example of a self-irrigating plant,” said plant biologist Gidi Ne’eman, a co-author on the paper published in March in Naturwissenschaften, a German journal of ecology. “This is the only case we know, but in other places in the world there might be additional plants that use the same adaptions.”


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I had assumed this is what regular rhubarbs do, because I live in a desert and hardly water the ones I have and they do quite well. ???
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I gave a sharp "What?!", as I had long-thought that this function was employed by many plants that bead and channel water towards the stem. This is an official first?
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