Adaptations of plants to extreme environments

Desert plants

A cactus is adapted to life in a hot climate
A cactus is adapted to life in a hot climate

Cacti are well adapted for survival in the desert. They have:

  • Stems that can store water.
  • Widespread or very deep root systems that can collect water from a large area or from very deep underground.
  • Spines which are modified leaves. These minimise the surface area and so reduce water loss. The spines also protect the cacti from animals that might eat them.
  • Very thick, waxy cuticle to reduce water loss by evaporation.
  • Reduced number ofstomata to reduce water loss by transpiration.
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