Kinds of Desert Plants

Plants thrive in almost every part of the world except for the coldest regions. One of the regions which some plants needed to adapt to in order for tem to survive is the desert region. These dry and hot places make living very difficult. The plants that live here are highly specialized and have adapted so well that they positively thrive here.

Desert plants have roots that go way down or sideways several feet in search for water. Other kinds of plants that survive in the desert are the cacti. These kinds of desert plants have a very clever way of surviving the heat and dryness of a desert. They have developed the ability and capacity to store water for several months, some cacti even a couple of years, in order to survive.


Among the cacti, the more common are the Saguaro Cactus, Barrel Cactus and Prickly Pear Cactus. The saguaro Cactus is what most people immediately think of when they are asked to imagine a cactus. These are desert plants that can grow up to 15 - 20 feet on average. They have a thick, waxy skin that is covered with around 2 inches thorns. Just like most cacti, inside it are folds or compartments which can hold water for quite a long period of time.

The Barrel Cactus is a rounded cactus that is covered by the traditional spines which blanket most if the cacti. These desert plants can be used for food, the cactus itself is cooked like a stew and it also provides the thirsty with much needed water from its trunk. This cactus is faster growing in its northern side so you might notice a slight curve to the south when you see a Barrel cactus.

The Prickly Pear Cactus is a beautiful plant which has many uses. It can reach to approximately seven feet in height and grows flat pads around 9 inches long and around 4-6 inches wide. It also has the prickly spines which grace most cacti in the world. It also stores water just like other cacti and some people consider it a weed when they find it in their backyards.

Other Desert Plants

Other desert plants not related to the cacti which are noteworthy are the Creosote Tree, Brittle Bush and Iron Wood Tree. The Creosote is so called because of the smell it gives off which is very similar to creosote tar. The Brittle bush is a low lying shrub which sprouts bright yellow flowers during the right season. The Iron Wood Tree is dense and very heavy wood which is slow growing and valued for its timber.