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Desert plants and their adaptations

Geography | 7-14 yrs | Reading Pod, Interactive, Learning Pod

What is it that sets a desert apart from other landscapes? – Desert plants

What are desert plants?

Desert plants are those which grow in the environment of arid regions where rainfall is scanty. Their beauty is very different from other plants. Desert plants are sturdily built. There are different types of plants which grow in deserts around the world.

6 Most common desert plants

1. Elephant Tree:

This plant is found to be grown in the Santa Rosa Mountains and south western part of the Arizona. It is small in size and has thick trunk .It stores water in trunk, lower limbs and wood. Elephant tree produces beautiful small and star shaped flowers which are either white or cream in colour.

2. Organ Pipe Cactus:

Organ Pipe Cactus is mainly found in the rocky deserts of Mexico and the US. This plant has narrow stems and a small trunk. This species of cactus takes 150 years to reach its mature stage. This plant produces fruits and purple or light pink tinted flowers.

3. Desert Sage:

Desert Sage is a shrub. It grows about 2-3 meters in height. Flowers of this shrub are deep blue in colour with purple bracts. This shrub is evergreen plant .It does not require water once it has set well.

4. Desert Marigold:

These plants belong to the aster family. They are mainly found in the south western parts of the US and Mexico. Desert Marigold is annual and short lived perennial plant. Their heights range between 10 and 30 inches. They possess hairy leaves which increase the reflection of light. This lowers leaf temperatures and blocks UV rays, making them to survive in extreme climate. The flowers of these plants are yellow in colour.

5. Saguaro:

The saguaro belongs to the cactus species. Its growth depends on the amount of precipitation present in the deserts. It produces ruby red fruits; white and yellow flowers.

6. Barrel Cactus:

These are the most common plant found in the deserts around the globe. Their heights vary between 1 meter to 10 meters. Barrel Cactus produces flowers of different shades such as orange, red, yellow and pink.

11 Interesting facts about desert plants

1. Desert plants are highly adaptable to the tough and extreme climate of the deserts.
2. Desert plants store water mainly in their trunk, stem and fleshy leaves.
3. Desert plants mainly the cactus group can be developed in nurseries and personal gardens.
4. They are ornamental plants which are used for home decoration.
5. Some cactus produces flowers.
6. Flowers of desert marigold are highly poisonous.
7. If the spine of barrel cactus accidentally pricks, one may need to take antibiotics to combat its effects.
8. Fruits of Organ Pipe Cactus are tastier than watermelon.
9. Fruits of Saguaro are consumed by locals.
10. Fruits of Organ Pipe Cactus serve as medicines.
11. Desert Sage has medicinal properties which cure headaches, common cold, stomach aches, influenza, pneumonia and eye problems.