How plants manage their water use in seasonally dry environments is a major component of each individual species’ ecology. In a new study in AoB PLANTS, Brodribb et al. examine closely related species of a highly successful Australian conifer genus, Callitris, to determine whether species growing under contrasting climates show adaptive specialization in the way they use water. Sampling four Callitris species growing across a large climatic range, they found that each exhibited a similar strategy of linking growth very tightly with rainfall events, and surviving dry periods by resisting damage to their water transport system. This strategy is similar to the Junipers of the Northern Hemisphere, and requires a cavitation-resistant xylem.