What What kinds of plants grow in a desert?
Plants In Dry Spaces
All deserts and dry spaces like Camp Green Lake do not
get very much rain. Since there is not very much water in deserts there
are very different plants. At least not the kind of plants you are
used to !!!
Some plants send their roots down as far as 100 feet. They are called "water seekers". Other water seeking plants will send their roots out in all directions instead of boring deep down under ground. The other kind of plants in the desert are called "water storers". Cacti have shallow root systems. They have a fleshy stem which holds all of the water that the shallow roots absorb.
These are the most common plants that you would see in a desert.
This site has great descriptions and pictures of the following desert plants, plus wild flowers. It is called Desert USA.
Pricly Pear Cactus
Mexican Gold Poppy
Here are some facts about each desert plant.
Sagebrush- Sagebrush have gray-green leaves. Sagebrush also have yellow flowers on them. Many animals enjoy eating sagebrush. Sagebrush wood burns very fast.
Saguaro- Saguaro cactus grow very slowly. A large saguaro may have many small desert animals living inside of it. The saguaro cactus has sharp spines all over it. The saguaro has folds on its branches and trunk that can hold water for almost two years.
Prickly-pear cactus- The prickly-pear cactus is full of water. People call it a succulent cactus. It has thick pads that store water. Each pad is shaped like a pear. The prickly-pear cactus has yellow flowers . It also has sharp spines that keep animals from eating the flower petals.
Cholla Cactus - The cholla cactus does not have leaves. It has sharp needles more commonly known as spines. The silver spines on cholla cactus help reflect sunlight away from the cactusís trunk so predators will not see the trunk, and they also keep the cholla cool.
Barrel Cactus- The barrel cactus has spines instead of leaves. It has folds in itís trunk that hold rain water. The barrel cactus grows faster on itís northern side. This makes the whole cactus curve slightly to the south. If you are ever in the desert , especially if you are lost in the desert, the barrel cactus can help you find your way.
Brittlebrush - The brittlebrush has yellow flowers on it that resemble daisies. The seeds of brittlebrush are blown away by the wind. The seeds can be dormant for years if conditions are dry or harsh.
Creosote bush- The leaves of a creosote bush have a coating on them that helps them save water. During dry times, the leaves fall off and smaller leaves take their place giving the plant a better chance to survive. Every drop of water that the creosote root system takes in is used. This means that around a creosote bush there probably will not be any other plants because all of the water is being used up.
Mexican Gold Poppy- The mexican gold poppy is an annual plant that lives in the desert . Like other desert plants, the mexican gold poppy seeds are scattered by the wind. The seeds will sprout during the next rainy season.
Indian Blanket - The indian blanket plant often grows on the southwest side of roads. The bright flower is yellow at the tips and red on the inside. The indian blanket is an annual plant in the desert.
Tree- The joshua tree is one of the largest yucca plants in the desert.
Yucca plants are evergreen trees and shrubs that adapted life in the desert.
The joshua tree and the yucca moth depend on each other. The moth
uses the pollen from the tree to feed its young. The moth spreads
the pollen from one flower to another flower. This helps the joshua
tree make seeds.
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