Desert plants strengthen and maximize their chances of survival in arid environments through behavioral and physical adaptation mechanisms. Much like desert animals, desert plants such as cactus, agave and owl's clover practice different but effective adaptive strategies, including drought tolerance, succulence and drought avoidance. These techniques enable indigenous organisms to survive and thrive in an arid desert, though these same mechanisms also prevent them from adapting in a different environment.
Desert plants are remarkably different than plants from rainforests or other regions. They have thick, thorny bodies and tiny leaves that, unlike other plants, are rarely bright green in color. Phreatophytes, for example, are drought tolerant plants with very long roots that enable them to obtain water from near the water table. A succulent plant, cacti store water in their fleshy leaves, which allows them to absorb large amounts of water in a short period of time. Some desert plants remain dormant during dry or wet times of year. Desert sunflowers are annual wildflowers that cease to exist during unfavorable conditions. They complete their reproductive cycle during the wet season and then die after spending all their energy to produce seeds.
Many plants may not thrive or even survive in an arid or cold desert environment, but animals and plants that have spent all their lives in this type of habitat are able to live and flourish in deserts, even during the most extreme weather.Learn More
The National Snow and Ice Data Center explains that different species of plants adapt to cold weather in a variety of ways, such as growing in forms that shed snow readily or by retaining dead leaves to help insulate the plant. Unlike birds and other animals that can migrate to avoid harsh winter weather, plants must find a way to cope with the cold temperatures without leaving.Full Answer >
Plants adapt to the environment by modifying their leaves, stem and roots. Desert plants such as the cactus modify their leaves into thorns to prevent loss of moisture through transpiration. Plants such as the lotus grow in water, have modified stems with pores and have short roots.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 >
There are many plants in the Gobi Desert, including the saxaul. This is a small tree or shrub that keeps moisture behind its bark, making it an ideal survivor in the desert climate. Saxauls also feature an extensive root system that is capable of reducing soil erosion.Full Answer >