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