outdoor landscaping ideas image

Desert Plant

Ever wonder how a desert plant survives in such a harsh environment?  It seems a near impossibility for anything to survive in an area with such hot and dry conditions during the day, sometimes freezing cold

conditions at night, with salty soil and animal life in search of every drop of moisture they can get.  But to live, the flora in these wastelands have developed a number of physical characteristics as well as behavioral practices that are simply amazing.

Take the Saguaro Cactus for example.  This type of desert plant in general, the cacti, adapt in a number of general ways.  One adaptation is to replace leaves with thin needles to minimize moisture loss.  In addition, their trunks are thick and bloated.  This allows them to store moisture far from the surface, again protecting it from evaporation.  But the Saguaro has two additional features.  The first of these is the use of a nurse tree, another plant that provides shade while the Saguero grows.  You'd find shade under that hot sun too.  Its growth is painfully slow, no more than an inch every year.  Reaching maturity under these conditions is an important part of survival.

Some desert plants do similar things to live.  Plants like the Saguero are called Xerophytes, they store water in particular with their needles instead of leaves.  another general type of plants are the Phreatophytes.  Their roots are deep enough to reach all the way down to the water table.  We have to mention two other things.

Some desert plants, called perennials, live for many years.  These make it in the harsh climate by remaining dormant during the hottest and driest part of the year.  But when conditions are better they come alive.  By continuing this cycle they maintain long, healthy lives.

Another type of desert plants called annuals live only one season.  Whereas perennials take the long-term approach, annuals go for quick success.  Their lives are short, then, during these arid periods when they germinate and spread their seeds for the next generation.

A Desert plant is pretty amazing.