A xerophyte is a species of plant that has adapted to survive in an environment with little water

A xerophyte is a species of plant that has adapted to survive in an environment with little water, such as a desert or a snow-covered region. The Cylindropuntia Imbricate, more commonly known as the Cane Cholla cactus, is an example of this. The plant is often found in Southwestern United States (such as Texas, Oklahoma and Arizona)?and northern?Mexico, where the climate is often very warm and humid. Due to this and the lack of rainfall the Cane Cholla receive, they have had to adapt to survive. These adaptations include having roots close to the soil surface. The water is more easily and quickly collected by the roots and stored in thick, expandable stems for the long summer drought. When water is no longer available in the summer, the Cane Cholla drop their leaves and become dormant (asleep). However, the cactus continues to photosynthesize as they have fixed spines instead of leaves; this minimises the surface area and therefore reduces water loss by?transpiration. The spines also protect the cacti from animals that might eat them. These green stems also produce the plant’s food, but lose less water than leaves because of their sunken pores and a waxy coating on the surface of the stem. The pores close during the head of the day and open at night to release a small amount of moisture, just like that of a stoma. These dense network of spines also shades the stems, keeping them cooler than the surrounding air, which helps to reduce the amount of water the cactus needs. Also, the Cane Cholla leans to the south as it lets them avoid the drying sun as much as possible. However, the Cane Cholla pays a price for these water saving adaptations, slow growth. Growth may be as little as 1/4 inch per year and most young sprouts may never reach maturity.

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