Plants of the Deserts
Deserts are the home to many living things. In fact, deserts are
second only to tropical rainforests in the variety of plant and
animal species that live there.
How do you think plants grow in a place that is very, very dry?
Many of the fascinating features of desert plants are adaptations
-- traits that help the plant survive in its harsh
environment. The two main adaptations desert plants have made are:
Ability to collect and store water
Features that reduce water loss
Indeed, desert plants often look different than plants in any other biome. Looking at the unusual desert plants often leads to many interesting questions. Click on the questions below to learn more about desert plants and see their pictures.
What part of the Saguaro Cactus stores water?
How do the pleats of the Barrel Cactus help it survive?
Why is the Old Man Cactus so hairy?
Why do cacti like the Prickly Pear have so many thorns?
How did the Dragon Tree get its name?
How do the thorns of the Fish Hook Cactus help it survive?
How do the small leaves of the Octillo plant help it survive?
Many desert plants, like the Desert Spoon, are succulent. What does that mean?
Does the Boojum always have leaves?
Why do so many desert plants, like the Aloe, have waxy surfaces?
Are there trees in the desert?
Have you seen a Yucca in your neighborhood?
What does the Agave plant have to do with margaritas?