New stem-tip leaves on this Psilocaulon junceum plant are small, nearly cylindrical or folding in, erect and smooth. The leaves appear after rain as a growth and flowering phase booster for the plant, but do not last long when rain doesn’t arrive, leaving much of the plant’s photosynthesis to the more durable stems.
Dry leaf remains are sometimes seen remaining upon the plant at the nodes; others fall to form ground-covering mulch in the shade below. This is where germination of all-comer seeds is protected by the branches, serving biodiversity and not merely own survival.
Contrasting cycles in life patterns are yet another feature of environmental adaptations made by many species. Some plant resting seasons resemble the hibernation phases of certain animals, confining growth and reproduction to the resource and opportunity rich seasons presented intermittently by the environment (Vlok and Schutte-Vlok, 2010; Smith, et al, 1998; iSpot).