The journey of cactus in the hostile desert

The arid, hostile environments of deserts*deserts*
➤ (n) an outcome (good or bad) that is well deserved
…by BeeDictionary.com
are not suitable for the survival of most of the plants in the world. Only a few exceptional plants are capable of adapting themselves to such environments. It is intriguing to see how the cactus survives this blow of extreme heat and dry conditions of the desert. It has the amazing ability of adapting itself to the drought like conditions.

Image Courtesy : ian.umces.edu
Image Courtesy : ian.umces.edu
The journey of cactus:

As we discussed earlier, the cactus plant is bestowed with the ability of storing water in them for longer durations. The cactus plant appears to be a green thick skinned plant with sharp spines capable of pricking anything that comes its way. The sharp spines sit on the walled stems of the plant. The water is stored in these stems. The roots of the plant do not penetrate deep into the ground and are easily found on the surface. When the desert welcomes rain, the stem region stores the water. It is estimated that 90% of the cactus plant contains water in huge quantities.

Agave, Peyote, Discocatus Horstii, Hylocereus Undatus,    Atrichoke cactus, Saguaro are a few well known species of cactus. When classified properly, the Cacti species amount to around 1400-1500 species. The Indian fig cactus or Opuntia ficus Indica is an edible*edible*
➤ (n) any substance that can be used as food
➤ (a) suitable for use as food
…by BeeDictionary.com
specie of the cactus. Many of us would like to know how the cactus stores ample of water in such hostile conditions.  Well, the waxy surface of the stems of the cactus plant prevents evaporation. Another interesting feature of this unique plant is that the photosynthesis occurs in the stem region that stores the water. The spines form a sharp protective layer around the plant. This is how the plant survives the harsh conditions of the desert.

Cactus were also used as ornamental plants in Europe in the early 1800’s. The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES) have included all the cacti in their list while some species are enlisted as endangered species.