Monday, July 6, 2015

desert plants - sneaky quick water hoarders

Desert plants have a variety of adaptations allowing them to survive long periods without water.

Some plants only open their stomata at night to reduce water evaporation that occurs quicker when the sun is out.

Plants often have water impervious cuticles & waxy coatings.

Succulent organs retain lots of water.

South African desert covered in ephemeral annuals during brief spring wet season.

There are even ephemeral annuals that bloom only during sudden rain.

The Peniocereus Greggi blooms once a year. All plants of that type bloom simultaneously on the same night. This occurs to maximize cross pollination between plants. If they bloomed individually, there would be no one to cross pollinate with. In other parts of the world, flowers stay open for a while to give cross pollination time. But in the desert this plant doesn't want to waste energy maintaining a flower and keeping the reproductive process ongoing for long periods of time. They just get it done one night then go back to staying alive.

Apparently some people have night garden parties where they watch it bloom.

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