Desert plants

Life is tough for desert plants. It rarely rains, and whatever water a plant can find has to be stored and protectes feom thirsty animals.

Prickly plants

Cacti are unusual plants, many with spines instead of leaves. The main part of a cactus is its swollen, water - storing stem.

Cactus lookalike

Which of these two plants is a cactus? True cacti grow only in the Americas. In the deserts of Africa and Asia there are plants that look like cacti but they belong to a different plant family.

Is it really that old?

The century plant is so - named because it supposedly lives for 100 years, then flowers oncr and dies. In fact, it lives for about 25 years.

Living stones

These " pebbles"  are plants. They look like rocks so that thirsty animals won't eat them. Each pebble is actually a leaf. At the top of each leaf is a window that lets in light.

Water store

The elephant's foot plant from Madagascar is called this because its stumpy stem looks like an elephant's foot that has been cut off. The stem is swollen with stored water.

Tumbling along

Tumbleweeds spread their seeds by dropping them as they are blown by thr wind. Because there are about a quarter of a million seeds per plant, some will grow.

How many species of cactus are there?
More than 1,600

Old timers

Some desert plants grow slowly, but these ones tend to live a long time. In fact, deserts are home to some of the oldest plants in the world.

The welwitschia plant lives for up to 2,000 years.

Bristlecone pine trees live for up to 5,000 years.

Creosote bush ( clones ) live for up to 12,000 years 

Life savers

Wild watermelons ripen underground and provide a source of water for desert - dwelling people who recognize the leaves. Watermelons orginated in southern Africa.

Moist and succulent 

Plant with very fat leaves and stems for storing water are called succulents.

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