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chamaephytechaméphyte (fr.); Chamaephyt (ger.)

  • A plant life form in Raunkiaer's system of classification. Chamaephytes are essentially low-growing shrubs, in which the overwintering buds are borne above ground but near the surface to minimize exposure to the wind. (Oxford Dict. of Biology 2008)
    life form

    II.Jordfladeplanter, Kamæfyter. De overlevende Knopper eller Skudspidser sidder paa Skud, der befinder sig umiddelbart paar Jordoverfladen.

    Raunkiær, C. (1904). Om biologiske Typer, med Hensyn til Planternes Tilpasning til at overleve ugunstige Aarstider. Botanisk Tidskrift 26, XIV.


    Les plantes comprises dans le seconde type principal, celui des Chaméphytes, ont leurs bourgeons persistants placés à peu de distance de la terre

    Raunkiær, C. (1905). Types biologiques pour la géographie botanique. Oversigt over Det Kongelige Danske Videnskabernes Selskabs Forhandlinger, 1905, 347-438: 353; transl. in id. (1934). The Life Forms of Plants and Statistical Plant Geography.


    Hence he [scil. Raunkiaer] proposes a new classification, based on resting buds and other organs that are most in evidence in rigorous seasons. On this basis five great plant classes are recognized: phanerophytes, whose buds are considerably above the ground (trees and shrubs); chamephytes, whose buds are slightly above the ground; hemicryptophytes, whose buds are at the ground level; cryptophytes, whose buds are hidden in the ground; and therophytes, whose buds persist only in seeds (annuals).

    Cowles, H.C. (1907). Resting buds as indices of ecological types. Botanical Gazette 44, 392.


    His [scil. Raunkiær’s] five chief groups were phanerophytes, chamaephytes, hemicryptophytes, cryptophytes, and therophytes.

    Warming, E. (1909). Oecology of Plants: 5.


    II. Chamäphyten (χαμαί = am Boden); Knospen nahe dem Erdboden.

    Tobler, G. (transl.) (1910). In: Raunkiaer, C. (1910). Statistik der Lebensformen als Grundlage für die biologische Pflanzengeographie. Beiheft zum Bot. Centralbl. 27 (2), 171-206: 171.


    Chamæphytes include plants with their bud or shoot-apices perennating on the surface of the ground.

    Smith, W.G. (1913). Raunkiaer’s “life-forms” and statistical methods. Journal of Ecology 1, 16-26: 17.


    chamaephyte A perennial plant having renewal buds at or just above ground level (up to 250 mm); usually low growing woody or herbaceous plants common in dry or cold climates and having buds on aerial branches near the ground; sometimes divided into active chamaephyte, passive chamaephyte and suffructicose chamaephyte; cf. Raunkiaerian life forms. 

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 43.

Raunkiær, C. (1907). Planterigets Livsformer og deres Betydning for Geografien.

Du Rietz, G.E. (1931). Life-forms of terrestrial flowering plants. Acta Phytogeogr. Suec. 3, 1-95.

Adamson, R.S. (1939). The classificaion of life-forms of plants. Bot. Rev. 5, 546-561.