Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants

Written by carmen clarke-brown
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants
The desert also has its species of plants. (desert plants image by Carol Tomalty from Fotolia.com)

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.

Other People Are Reading

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.

Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants
A cluster of desert plants. (desert plant image by Anton Chernenko from Fotolia.com)

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.

Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants
Desert plants sometimes grow in arid conditions. (desert plants image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

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.

Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants
A lone desert plant in a barren environment.. (desert plant image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com)

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.

Environmental Challenges of Desert Plants
Closeup of a flared desert plant. (The agave, green and white striped desert plant closeup image by Kashtalian Ludmyla from Fotolia.com)

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the eHow.co.uk site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.