Vegetation adaptation

Cactus in Mexico desert
The cactus has adapted to the desert environment

Plants and animals need to cope with the dry conditions. Compared to other biomes, deserts have limited numbers of plants and animals that are able to survive.

Some plants are succulents and store the water in leaves, stems or roots. One example is the cactus.

Other ways plants tolerate the dry conditions include:

  • long roots to tap into the water deep underground
  • short life cycles - a plant or seed could remain dormant until the rains come

Animal survival

  • Some may burrow to escape the heat.
  • Nocturnal animals sleep during the day, sheltering to help prevent dehydration.
  • Animals may hibernate during temperature highs or lows.