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Impact of arid climate on sex distribution, morphological and anatomical organization of a medicinal herb Aerva javanica (Burm. f.) Juss. ex Schult (Amaranthaceae) in Southern Algerian Sahara

Faiza Mouhoub*, Djamila Chabane, Saida Ouafi And Nadia Bouguedoura

“Ahaggar”, is the most arid land of North African regions which faces serious challenges due to the lack of sufficient water and the increase of drought state (prolonged dry-spells or delayed). These arid conditions have substantial negative impact on the harvest yield of agriculture and affect the morphology, anatomy and biodiversity development of many plant species. This study conducted on Aerva javanica in situ (in its natural setting) should help to analyze how increased temperatures might affect some morphological, anatomical and physiological characters of this Saharan medicinal herb. The effects of climate changes appear to be impacting this plant in its male and female specimen’s distribution, morphology (vegetative and reproductive systems), and anatomic organization in cross-sections taken from the root, stem and leaf. The anatomical results have also provided the evidence of the photosynthetic mechanism in C4 of this plant. For the first time, we have shown the difference of resistance of this plant by sex distribution, which is really different of other countries of Africa and the presence of two types of assimilatory parenchyma in both leaves and stems. This anatomical adaptation known “kranz anatomy” confers to the plant a high performance in water deficit conditions, salt stress and high exposure to the temperature and to the intense light.

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