After moving to the desert southwest and finding it difficult to deal with the blazing hot sun and triple-digit heat, I wondered how the native plants and trees survived here. After researching, I found that desert plants and trees have devised unique adaptations to survive the intense heat and sun.
|tiny leaves - mesquite tree|
|tiny leaves - palo verde tree|
|funnel-shaped desert spoon plant|
|golden barrel cacti spines as drip tips|
|Texas sage gray-green leaves|
|bush morning glory silver-green leaves|
Other plants, like brittlebush, have fuzzy hairs on their leaves that act as sun reflectors to keep the plant cool. Some plants, like the jojoba bush, angle their leaves vertically so that surface area exposed to the sun is minimized.
|vertical leaves on jojoba bush|
|vertical leaves on hopseed bush|
Adaptations to reduce moisture loss, harvest rainwater and reduce sun exposure help desert plants thrive. Since non-native plants do poorly in the intense heat and sun, most homeowners here choose low-maintenance, water-thrifty native adapted plants for the bulk of their landscaping.