Agave is a large genus, containing many wild and cultivated species.Many of these are far too dry or tough to eat, though boiling them can make this easier. However, to survive in the desert in the first place, they must be able to survive very hot temperatures with very little moisture. Many plants, such as desert wildflowers, spread their seeds across the desert floor during the cooler fall and winter months. In fact, there are some deserts that are cold all year round. Some, the phreatophytes, do so by growing long roots that collect water from deep underground. Many of them have leaves that have evolved to retain and store moisture. It has about 9 to 10 ribs on the stem. Although many people associate palm trees with the tropics, certain species of palm trees exist in the desert. This plant has adapted to use little moisture, yet it thrives even though it appears dried out. However, this does not have to mean that a desert is a hot place. Grasses are some of the toughest plants on earth, and lovegrass is no exception. It grows in tough clusters and produces small white flowers with edible seeds. Every single part of this cactus is edible once it has been despined. Like the doum palm, date palms store water in their thick trunks, allowing them to survive in spite of the lack of rain in the Sahara. Beans 2. It has an almost neon-style hot pink color to its flesh and extract, which are used in everything from tacos to margaritas. Dry Plants Saguaros, the large cacti shown here, use different strategies to survive through the dry months. Another shrubby desert plant, Ephedra alata has a similar survival strategy to the tamarisk shrub. The ingenuity and variety of these many adaptations are explored in Desert Plant Survival and the Desert Food Chain. These plants have thick, flesh-like leaves that store water and allow the plant to withstand the long dry seasons. She has written about science as it relates to eco-friendly practices, conservation and the environment for Green Matters. However, there are a number of plants that live exclusively in the desert, and their rugged constitution makes the environment an ideal place for them to live. Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Succulent plants like the pencil plant, for example, have green stems that are almost seaweed-like. Knowing your plants can also help lead you to water, the desert’s most precious and elusive resource. By creating an account you agree to the Hunker, Curbed: An Illustrated Guide to Southern California’s Desert Plants, FTD By Design: 127 Stunning Desert Plants, WaterUseItWisely: How Plants Cope With The Desert Climate. These are distinctive because of their shaggy trunks. Many desert plants protect themselves with spines, sharp leaves and/or toxins. The tobacco tree also stores water in its roots. Maria Cook is a freelance and fiction writer from Indianapolis, Indiana. The Landscape Plants section of the AMWUA.org website is the online edition of the AMWUA publication Landscape Plants for the Arizona Desert. They can catch the carbon dioxide during the night by opening their stomata. The leaves are sometimes used for food as well and can be tender and nutritious when cooked. This desert plant comes in many varieties like the Hedgehog cactus, Claret Cup cactus, King’s Cup cactus, Pancake Prickly Pear cactus, and the Mound cactus, to name a few. 1. Desert plants list with pictures and facts. _____ _____ grows in the desert washes and slopes, but can also be spotted growing along canyon walls. The term xeriscape is derived from the Greek word xeros, which means “dry,” and is a form of landscaping that conserves water through […] Desert Plants Introduction. It is one of Earth’s major types of ecosystems, supporting a community of plants and animals specially adapted to the harsh environment. It is also known as chicowood or black greasewood. The ghost plant, which has a cabbage-like shape, is exceptionally popular as a houseplant and for landscaping in the desert. Because lovegrass can grow back as long as its water-storing roots remain intact, it can survive in harsh desert conditions. Moreover, they can also withstand cold freezing conditions. Still, they are anything but lifeless, and many plants have adaptive features that help them to thrive in deserts, and so have other creatures. These plants even bear beautiful flowers that are sweetly fragrant. Desert Plants. The Sahara desert, located in North Africa, is the largest hot desert in the world and one of the hottest places on Earth with average summer temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and yearly rainfall of only 1 to 4 inches. In deserts, trees are usually absent, and shrubs or herbaceous plants provide only very incomplete ground cover. The desert gourd’s large, fleshy roots allow it to survive the arid conditions where it grows. Desert, any large, extremely dry area of land with sparse vegetation. Relict stands of white fir, juniper and pinyon pines are found at higher elevations while … Smoke trees, mesquite trees and ponderosa pines are other trees that are native to the desert and can flourish in extreme heat and dry conditions. This plant has long been used in the traditional medicines of people living in or near the Sahara desert. The science behind how a cactus can thrive in the desert while other plants can’t is easy to understand. Desert gourds grow as vines with thin, green leaves. Spinach 11. With desert plants like cacti, succulents, wildflowers and unique trees, it is a unique landscape of natural beauty. Growing Desert Plants in Your Garden. It will get 3 to 7 feet high. The Desert Ironwood is known as a “nurse plant” as it provides a safe place for seed … The cactus plant survives in the desert by using the adaptation technique. Unlike some forms of tobacco plant, the leaves of the tobacco tree can be lethal if smoked. They exist in a part of the Mojave desert with the right degree of altitude and rainfall, although the species is under threat of extinction due to climate change. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Radish 10. The desert plants focus more on conserving water because they cannot live without water. Desert species include the ponytail palm, which has curly leaves and is adept at storing water. Succulent plants are also populous in the desert. Resembling prismatic, frozen flames, these glass structures are believed to have been created during a violent solar event, scorching the land and stone into glass. Many different varieties of desert plants live in the desert, from wildflowers to shrubbery to spiny cacti and different trees. Known as the high desert, Mojave National Preserve has elevations from 938 feet at Zzyzx to 7,929 feet at Clark Mountain. Flower colors range from yellow to deep red. However, the plant is extremely successful at surviving desert conditions. Justicia (Desert Honeysuckle) With long, colorful, tubular flowers, justicias are a hummingbird's delight. Aloe vera and the century plant have long, thick and dense leaves and can grow to be very large in size. Desert Gourd . This plant can grow to heights of over 6 feet and has small leaves, which prevents the desert sun from drawing away moisture. 11 Interesting facts about desert plants. In contrast, cold winter deserts also exist in the United States. There are many plants in the desert that can survive in a xeriscape garden or even in a glass terrarium. Agave – Agave spp. These plants can produce small, yellow flowers and thrive in sandy soil. These are hot, dry climates with very little rainfall. In spite of their harsh conditions, deserts are anything but lifeless. Wild desert gourds, also referred to as creeping plants, are members of the watermelon family that grow abundantly in the Sahara desert. The green dots in Saudi Arabia In a series of satellite images, NASA has documented the evolution of farming in the Saudi desert from 1987 to the present, showing the emergence of huge green dots. Greasewood, Sacrobatus vermiculatus, is from the Chenopodiaceae family of plants. The flowers protect the leaves that hold the actual white buds of the plant. Coastal deserts exist in coastal regions and have warm summers and chilly winters. Below, you will find 10 incredible water tank desert plants that you can find water from in the desert. Ashley Friedman is a freelance writer with experience working in the home, design and interiors space. The desert is a difficult place to be a plant because of the dry, hot air. This typically low-growing shrub is found across a broad range in the Sahara (as well as the Arabian Desert). 4. Given the dry, arid conditions, many people assume that the desert is not a place for living things and plant life in particular. The tobacco tree is not native to the Sahara desert but grows there as an invasive species. The stems are cylindrical in shape and grow up to 1 foot long and 1 to 1½ inches thick. Some desert palms are extremely long-lived with lifespans of 150 years or more. Desert Edibles. This plant is considered rare in the US within the Anza Borrego Desert State Park region, Santa Rosa Mountains, Sonoran Desert and parts of the southwestern area of Arizona. 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