Sahara Desert Plants
The Sahara Desert is often considered bereft of life.
But enough Sahara desert plants exist to make this thought
It's not a matter of enough water, or too much heat during
the day and cold at night, but a matter of how life has found a
way to adapt to and survive in this unusual environment.
Some aquatic plants persist in the same way as do annual
plants, with dormant stages in their life history that are
stimulated to develop by occasional sufficient rainfall.
Although being a desert area, one can notice annual rainfall in
many regions of this vast land area.
Many people don't realize that after the last ice age the
Sahara Desert was quite a different place than it is
today. The types of Sahara desert plants that existed
there received much more moisture. Not only do the plants
there survive with little moisture, a lot of moisture would
actually kill them. It's like people who live in cold
climates. The cold may look difficult, but they would die
in a warmer environment.
Sahara desert plants include common plants like shrubs and
grass. Since grass grows over such a large area and has
an easier time of finding water. The grasses in the
desert won't become sick and green like they would in a
suburban yard, but they do okay. The same can be said of
the trees that don't grow wide leaves.
Sahara desert plants don't often have wide leaves because
there's too much surface area there. Evaporation is an
enemy in the desert. Plants would soon die if their
moisture flew off into the atmosphere. Wide leaves
provide too much surface for evaporation. There is much
less evaporation on needles or spines. For a similar
reason cactus have thick trunks, so the water within is further
from the surface where evaporation takes place. Hanging
onto every drop of available moisture is most important.
Sahara desert plants also have to survive in soil that's full
of salt. Thus many of the plants in the desert are
halphytes, which are plants that can tolerate high salt
The Sahara Desert, as do hot deserts in general, presents a
number of challenges for plants that grow there. Yet many
Sahara desert plants grow and even thrive.