How do plants adapt to life in the desert with high temperatures and low supplies of water?

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justaguide | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

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The problems faced by plants is not due to too much light but an increased temperature due to the infra-red rays that fall on them. In the deserts, a high temperature is accompanied by a very low amount of water that is available. Plants that grow in these conditions use many ways methods to overcome the challenge. Some of these are:

  • Reducing the number of leaves or eliminating them altogether, this reduces the surface area for evaporation of precious water. Photosynthesis is carried out in a green stem rather than leaves.
  • Storage of water in the stems and the leaves.
  • Alignment of leaves to keep the heat rays falling on them to the minimum.
  • The presence of a waxy coating on the leaves that reflects light and also reduces the amount of water lost.

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