What Kind of Plants Grow in the Desert?

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While many plants need a fertile location with rain to grow, there are hardy species that grow in the desert. Much like animals that live in the desert, these plants have developed ways to adapt to the extreme heat and dryness of the desert.

Types

Perhaps the most iconic desert plant is the cactus. There are numerous varieties of cacti ranging from the tall, majestic Saguaro to the small and round Barrel cactus.

Identification

There are also numerous trees and shrubs that grow in the desert. The Ponderosa pine, for example, grows in high desert while the Creosote bush grows on the plains and in valleys.

Effects

There are even many species of wildflowers that grow in the desert. The Arizona poppy, with its brilliant yellow flowers, and the bright red Desert Paintbrush all thrive in arid climates.

Function

All plants that grow in the desert have adjusted to survive for long periods with extreme sunlight and low levels of water. Many of them have long roots that burrow deep to hidden caches of moisture.

Potential

Some flowers and plants also go into a dormancy stage during the driest times of the year and quickly return to life when water becomes available.

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