Central Washington State in the United States is known for its hot desert corridor conditions in the state's eastern region, and plants face a challenge under the high temperature conditions. Humans have choices to move from one dwelling to another; however plants are quite stationary, and by virtue of that quality, they are forced to adapt themselves to their environment for survival.
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How Plants Cope in Desert Conditions
Central Washington Native Plants (CWNP) in its "Desert Plants Adaptation" article states that plants make adjustments in waterless environments by having a sparing water management system and making the most of photosynthesis, and the article further adds that plants in the eastern desert area of Washington State use a number of attributes that help them to survive in the desert.
Plants Change Their Physical Structure
Xerophyte plants, which means dry plants, have adapted to their environment by growing in clusters low on the ground and by producing smaller leaves with a waxy surface that aids moisture retention, the CWNP article submits, while hair on some plant leaves forestalls evaporation of moisture from the leaves' surface by reflecting sunlight and suppressing air movement, the article advises.
Photosynthesis Aids Desert Plants' Adaptation
The CWNP article points out that during photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water produce energy for the plant by absorbing water through its roots while carbon dioxide is absorbed through the plants' stomata pores; however, the plant loses water by evaporation from the open pores, and in a strategic move to curtail that water loss, "some plants produce fewer stomata or have the stomata open only at night when the temperature is cooler," the website article says.
Phreatophyte Plants Reach Underground Water
Phreatophyte plants, also known as well plants, and particularly Tamarisk, have adapted a lengthy root system that reaches underground water reservoirs, according to CWNP; and Tamarisk as such helps itself with underground water, an act that can cause "severe problems by robbing rivers and underground water supply, particularly in the Southwest United States," the article explains.
Some Plants Lie Dormant
Other plants cope with the desert temperatures by lying dormant during the winter or drought periods, says the article, and it submits that annual plants, known as ephemerals, only grow when conditions are favourable, while some seeds can remain dormant for decades waiting to germinate under improved temperatures, the article notes.
Plants Germinate in Riverbank Areas
Other plants use the strategy of reacting to water shortage by avoidance, the result of which can be seen near any stream or wet area, the CWNP article submits, where plants only germinate and grow in river bank areas, presenting a scene of contrasting vegetation only near reservoirs, the article maintains.
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