Hot & Dry Climate Plants

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Hot and dry climates tend to have summers that are hot to very hot, experience low precipitation, and very dry air. Most deserts have hot and dry climates and the plants in this climate have adapted to survive in such areas, even though there are often long periods without any rainfall and the sunshine can be intense.

Wildflowers

  • Wildflowers in hot and dry climates include the Arizona poppy, a branching herbaceous flowering plant that produces bright orange flowers. This plant has a stout taproot that can reach depths of 9 inches, which allows the plant to start growing again as soon as the first rains fall.

    Another hot and dry climate wildflower is the lobeleaf groundsel, an annual perennial herb that produces bright yellow blooms. The filaree storksbill is a creeping plant that produces loosely clustered lavender flowers.

    Other hot and dry climate wildflowers include the blue phacelia, chuparose, cliffrose, hop sage and freckled milkvetch.

Cactus and Succulents

  • The barrel cactus is a cylindrical-shaped cactus that is common in the North American deserts. It is one of the largest cacti and is distinguished by the presence of heavy, curved spines. The flowers of this plant grow on top of it and do not have any scales or spines. The chain-fruit, or jumping cholla, is a cactus with segmented branches.

    The century plant has tall, thin stalks that can grow up to 40 feet high. The hedgehog cactus is a small barrel-shaped cactus that produces scarlet flowers. Other types of cactus and succulents include the Mojave yucca, beavertail cactus, datil yucca, and soaptree yucca.

Grasses and Shrubs

  • The bastard toadflax is a perennial, parasitic hot and dry climate plant that attaches itself to other plants for survival. This plant reproduces both sexually and vegetatively.

    The creosote bush is a medium evergreen shrub that has many flexible stems that project at an angle from its base. This plant has waxy, resinous leaves, and pointed yellow-green leaves, which have adapted to dissipate heat and conserve water.

    Other plants in this category include the stinging nettle and tumbleweed.

Trees

  • The elephant tree is a rare species of small, aromatic, trees with short, tapered trunks and branches.

    Another type of tree that grows in hot and dry climates is the palo verde tree. This is a spiny, green, deciduous tree that generally grows to between 20 and 40 feet in height.

    The Joshua tree is a hot and dry climate tree that produces yellow-green bell-shaped blooms.

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  • Photo Credit Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images
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