Cacti make use of many structural adaptations, such as shallow roots, fixed spines and thick stems, to survive in the desert where there is minimal rainfall. Each of these adaptations allow the plant to collect and store water more efficiently in an environment where water is scarce.
Cacti do not have leaves, but instead have a fixed spine. The fixed spine loses less water than leaves, so the plant can photosynthesize throughout the dry season. Cacti have very shallow roots to soak up water immediately after rainfall, and they also have thick, expandable stems to store all of the water they absorb from the ground. Because of these adaptations, cacti are able to survive in the desert where most plants would die.Learn More
The nopal cactus, or prickly pear cactus, comprises a variety of species of Opuntia that are native to and grow extensively throughout Mexico, as well as the southwestern desert regions of the United States. The cactus is a common part of Mexican cuisine and is also taken medicinally.Full Answer >
Pine trees have adapted to winter weather and a shorter growing season with a conical tree shape that allows them to shed snow, and by staying green year-round so they can produce food through photosynthesis early in spring. Also, needle-shaped leaves reduce moisture loss.Full Answer >
The few plants that grow in a tundra biome have adapted by remaining dormant in the long, extremely cold winter season and taking advantage of the short summer months to grow and propagate. The plants have shallow roots, are able to perform photosynthesis even in cold temperatures and have small leaf structures.Full Answer >
Cacti produce their food through photosynthesis that occurs in their pads, which are modified stems. Evolution has modified their leaves into spines that provide shade for the pads and break up the wind to reduce evaporation through the skin of the stems.Full Answer >