The Cactus is a weird and thorny plant. It grows in places devoid of vegetation. Have you ever thought how does cactus grow in desert? You will learn today about cactus and other desert plants in detail as you continue reading the article.
1. Why Cactus is a Desert Plant?
Cactus (formal name Cactaceae) has been taken from the Greek word kaktos, which means spiky plant. Cacti or cactuses are American Natives, meaning they are mostly concentrated in areas like North and South America, and Mexico. They are typically found in drought-prone areas. They are beautifully adapted to survive in the extreme heat and surroundings of the desert, to survive the hot and dry conditions. (Also read Hottest Desert in the World)
Cacti have all been flowering plants, and a few have more noticeable flowers than others, such as Mammillaria, Gymnocalycium, and Parodia, which flower with magnificent, multicolored displays very easily. A cactus plant prefers a light, airy, and warm environment but maybe not be so hot; 18°C is optimal for its healthy growth. But they can also tolerate the direct sunlight of the deserts.
2. How Does Cactus Grow in Desert and Survive?
The following characteristics allow a cactus to thrive in the desert:
- Its roots are long and reach deep into the earth to absorb water. Its spine-like leaves help to limit dehydration through transpiration.
- It has a thick waxy covering on its stem that helps it retain water.
- Since it lacks leaves, it does not lose as much water to evaporation as other plants. Its stems are thick, with plenty of space for water storage and a protective coating to keep water within. Certain cactus species may survive without water for up to two years.
- The saguaro cactus or Carnegiea gigantea is among the Sonoran Desert’s most iconic plants. These cacti are huge, tree-like columnar cacti with branches (or arms) that expand as they age, though others never do. (See Where Did Chili Originate?)
So you should sometime visit the desert and feel the conditions there to better understand how does cactus grow in desert and how they have evolved to thrive in the desert weather conditions. They’ve got water-storing stems, broad or even root systems that could absorb moisture from a vast region and relatively deep underground. Also, know about Ivy plants and facts.
3. How does Cactus Survive Drought Tolerance?
The desert plants have three basic adaptive methods: succulence, drought tolerance, and drought avoidance. Each of these adaptations is unique but effective in allowing plants to thrive amidst circumstances that would kill them in other areas. A cactus plant, despite its slow growth, is pretty much self-efficient because it retains fluids in its roots, leaves, and stems, and so controls all its food consumption. So these are the most important factors of how does cactus grow in desert apart from its ways to beat the heat.
An examination was done of how does cactus grow in the desert and thrive in harsh and arid environments. You know that cactus spines serve to defend them from humans and animals. When it rains, its roots reach out to gather water, which it stores through its body for later use. Cacti are tough plants that have evolved to adjust to the environment. These plants have shallow root systems and photosynthetic stems. Aside from that, they could hibernate and use their spines to protect themselves. ( Also Read Why Do Potatoes Sprout?)
4. What are the Cactus and Other Desert Plants?
Here are a few plants that live in Deserts:
- Prickly Pear Cacti: The prickly pear cactus (Opuntia ficus-indica) is a Mexican plant. In Mexican civilizations, the fruits and stems are often consumed and used as medicine. The prickly pear cactus may reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels by limiting the amount of food absorbed by the stomach. Prickly pear cactus is most typically used to treat diabetes. It’s used to cure enlarged prostate, hangovers, excessive cholesterol, and a variety of other conditions, but there’s no scientific proof to back up these claims. Must read about the 34 medicinal plants worth your garden space.
- Tumbleweed: Tumbleweeds are a diverse group of plant species that thrive in arid, dry, and hot environments such as deserts. They range in size from extremely small to fairly huge, and can even be big as a human. Tumbleweeds could be located in the United States, Australia, and Africa, among other places. They are initially tied to the ground via stems and roots, but due to the wind, they become dislodged and begin blowing wherever the wind blows them. Tumbleweeds also use rolling to disseminate their seeds much farther wide.
- Saguaro Cactus: Saguaros are indeed the diverse cactus species in the United States, reaching heights of over 40 feet. The enormous cardon cactus, which thrives in portions of Mexico, is the largest species in North America. The average lifespan of a saguaro is between 100 and 200 years. The root system of a saguaro is complex. Arizona’s state flower is the saguaro bloom. Poachers make a few thousand dollars over the transport of saguaros, which make for pricey lawn ornaments. So these varieties are very popular among the other species of cactus. (Also read What is the Most Expensive Truffle?)
The Sahara, with its oases and plateaus, is home to a diverse range of species. Figs, oranges, acacia trees, tobacco plants, oleander, peyote cactus, as well as a variety of other shrubs, trees, and plants can be found in addition to the vegetation mentioned above. So, now you know how does cactus grow in desert, and also some of the unknown insider facts about the cactus and other desert plants. (See Do Sunflowers Grow Back Every Year?)