MES'OPHYTE (from Gk. kthsoc, mcsos, mid ph a ton, growth, plant ). A name given to plants which grow naturally in conditions of intermediate soil moisture. The term is thus in contrast with hydrophyte and xerophyte (qq.v.). To this group belong the most common plants of tile ft rest and grass lands of equable climates.
nitivated areas with very few exceptions are thesophytic. Ilydrophytes and xerophytes. then, may thus be regarded as extremes. the one adapt ed to an extreme of moisture, the other of nt•.s. account of the almost unifinmily able conditions, mesophytes are able to survive without any striking adaptations such as are to be found xerophytes mid hydrophytes. However. with the exception of a few remarkably pla-tie hydrophytes. they exhibit maximum plas ticity. It is perhaps not surprising that. ticity is found developed to a high degree among them, the sequence of periods of extreme ture or extreme dryness tending to fix bility. The vegetation of mcsophytic areas is much more dense than that in xerophytic or even in hydrophytie regions, and there is a far er wealth of species. The struggle for existence is thus more keen, and fewer representatives of the various species may he found, while a ophytic or hydrophytie plant society may often be characterized by the dominance of one or two species. The keen competition which exists in mesophytie regions may perhaps account for the survival of forms with a high degree of plas ticity. Another feature of mesophytic conditions is the richness of the soil. which doubtless ac counts for the great diversity of plant forms, and for luxuriance which here reaches its climax in the plant world. The various mesophytie so cieties are treated under the following heads: Forest': PnArna; \h:,ttiov; and PASTURE.
(Lat., from Gk. µeeoro 7awa, se. }ii, country. country between the rivers. from piooc, mesoA, middle potamos, river). In the widest sense, all the country between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers from Armenia to the Persian Gulf; in a nar rower and more common usage. the northern part of this territory. called to-day by the Arab name El-.lTzirah (the Island Peninsula), the southern portion (Babylonia) being known as Irak Arabi. In the Old Testament this territory is called Aram Naharayin, (the Aram of the Two Rivers). of which the Greek name is prob ably a translation; and ['within Joint (the Plain of Aram). The name. in the form NO/Ham. is found in Egyptian inscriptions and in the Amar na letters. though limited to the northwestern
district between the Tigris and Delik. In the earliest times Mesopotamia scents to have been under native rulers. and to have developed a civil ization of its own which may have been the source of many features commonly attributed to the Assyrians. About me. 1300 ilammannirari I. made it a part of Assyria. Aranurans front the south invaded the land and settled there in the course of the setnit ie migrations of the stieceeding centuries. In ic.e. 53:4 it passed under Persian rule, and later belonged successitlly to the Mace donian. Syrian. and Parthian empires. The P, 0 it a province. in 363 Jovial] sur• rendered most of it to Persia. In the seventh eenlury it came into the hands of the caliphs. 1035 notch of the land was ruled by petty Seljokian sultans. Theze were in turn quered by the Mongols. who captured Itarolad in and put the Caliph to death. The Osniatilis began their conquest early in the sixteenth cen tury, and in 1636 the land passed completely into their power. At present the population is mainly Arab: most of the tribes are as inde pendent of the Turkish G ore rnment as their brethren in Central Arabia. though the country is nominally divided between several Turkish vilayets. There are a few Kurds in the north, and a small number of Armenian and Syrian Christians. The land is hilly in the north, but low and sandy to the south. After the Euphrates and the chief rivers are the Khahur, Jaghjaglia. and Bitumen is common, and a few petroleum well- are found. The most im portant towns tire Crfa. Mardin. Nesibin. Mosul, and Rakka. In early times, when a good irrigation system was maintained. the land was fertile. and the home of an advanced civilization. Owing to its situation. it was open to influence: from both the east and the west, from Babylonia 81141 Asia Minor. Perhaps its most prosperous time was under Assyrian and Babylonian rule. but in the early Christian cen turies it emitained important cities. such as Edessa and Nisilds. and under the caliphs the cmmtry also thrived. it is desert and uninhabited except along the banks of the nat ural watercourses. Consult: Oppert, seicatifique en .lh'sopotantit (Paris. IKat 59) ; Lady Anne Blunt, The Bedouin Trilns of the Euphrates (London, ISSOI : Saehau. Reise in Syrien end Mesopotambt ( Leipzig. 18s3) ; Op penheim. Vain Mittel:neer zum persischen Golf (Berlin, I See AssmA ;