13 Different Types Of Plants In The Desert (With Photos)

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Desert biomes are chat characterized by little moisture and a very high temperature. Desert plants can thrive and survive in hot and arid areas. They do not necessarily need much rainfall to grow through their root system. 

Although cacti are one of the most famous desert plants, several other plants can thrive appropriately in the desert. Some common types of plants in the desert include cacti, the Joshua tree, the golden barrel cactus, yucca plants, and the saguaro cactus.

The article will discuss some of the most common plants found in desert or arid environments.

Let’s get started!

Types Of Plants In The Desert

Several plants can grow in deserts effortlessly. Some characteristics of drought-tolerant plants include; 

  • They must be drought tolerant
  • They must be succulent shrubs or trees that can tolerate scorching temperatures
  • They should be able to grow well in sandy soil
  • They should be complete sun plants that do not necessarily require shade

Some popular desert plants include:

See Also: Outdoor Plants With Large Leaves

1. Prickly Pear Cactus

The prickly pear cactus has succulent green leaves covered in spines and is among some of the most common desert plants in the United States. The thick and fleshy leaves on the body of these plants can store much moisture that helps the plant survive the weather. 

You can find these plants in red, yellow, and purple colors to help give the dry landscape a colorful look. This cactus looks similar to a rabbit’s ears and can grow up to 5-7 cm tall. 

2. Joshua Tree

The Joshua tree is a yucca plant found in the Mojave Desert. This plant is mainly referred to as the yucca plant or the palm tree yucca and can be able to withstand arid environments.

The Joshua trees have an extensive root system and are capable of getting their moisture from there. It has short and stompy branches with spiky green leaves of protection.

Unfortunately, at the end of the tree’s thick branches, you can find these leaves clustered in one unit, making the Joshua tree look barren. 

3. Curvy Leave Yucca

You can find yucca plants in many deserts because they can withstand the sun and thrive on little water. The upper leaves of these trees are long and stiff; the lower leaves are curved backward.

In the Southern United States, you can find these yucca plants as ornamental plants in gardens. 

These plants thrive well in desert climates, sandy soils, and coastal dunes. The trunk of these trees can grow up to about 4-5 ft high. Whenever these plants bloom, they do so with large clusters of white flowers. 

4. Saguaro Cactus

The saguaro cactus takes the shape of the regular cactus we all know, but, in this case, it is enormous. This cactus has large arm-like branches that usually bend upwards with its thick columnar stems.

These stems help retain moisture for a very long time to help these plants keep themselves in arid temperatures. 

You can find these cacti in the southwestern united states and northern Mexico. This cactus is the largest of any cactus in the biome, as it can grow up to 52 ft tall. So if you want to create a desert landscape in your backyard, this cactus is an excellent choice. 

5. Golden Barrel Cactus

You can find the golden barrel cactus in the deserts to take the shape of spherical spiked globes. The spines of these globe-like plants are either yellow or white as it produces a crown of small and yellow flowers. 

These desert plants can be a significant addition to rock gardens or desert landscapes to give them a fabulous look.

Although these plants are slow growers, they can live up to 30 years. Unfortunately, you can rarely find these plants in the desert due to habitat destruction so if you get one, ensure that you take very God care of it. 

6. Organ Pipe Cactus

The organ pipe cactus is a common desert plant that can grow up to 15-16 ft tall. Whenever you see these plants, they live up to their name because of their long and tubular succulent stems. 

Many desert dwellers value these plants because of the large and tasty fruits they produce; many people say it tastes even better than watermelon. In addition, these plants would do well in sandy soil and gardens with full sun and little shade. 

7. Brittlebush

Brittlebush is a widespread plant in Mexico. As the name suggests, these plants have stems that can easily break off. Whenever these plants flower, they can naturally brighten up the desert landscape. 

Whenever the intense dry seasons come in, these plants lose their leaves and depend on the moisture preserved in the leaves. 

8. Creosote Bush

The creosote bush is also named greasewood and is a flowering specie of hardy plants native to deserts. These evergreen shrubs produce yellow flowers, and their extensive root system helps them absorb moisture from the deepest parts of the desert. 

The reason why this plant is known as the creosote is due to the smell; it smells like creosote compounds that are from distilled coal tar. When the bush matures, it can survive temperatures up to 160 degrees F and even extreme drought.  

9. Mexican Feather Grass

The Mexican feather grass can thrive in dry conditions under sweltering weather conditions. Apart from the Mexican feather grass, these plants have names like fine-leaved nacelle and fine-stem needlegrass.

These feather grass have delicate blades that help improves their appearance. So if you want to give our gardens that attractive look, you should get these plants. And give it a beautiful rock garden or desert landscape.

10. Tumble Weed

If you remember movies from the wild west, you would see some grasses rolled in a ball form moving across deserts, and these are the tumbleweeds. No particular plant makes up the tumbleweed as it is formed from different types of desert plants joined together. 

Another common name for this weed is the Russian thistle, indicating that its plant is native to Russia and the United States. As these plants get blown from one angle to another, it disperses some seeds, which leads to the regeneration of these invasive plants. 

11. Desert Lily

These plants are more related to agave plants than lilies, although it produces lily-like flowers. Like every cactus plant, it can withstand scorching weather and desert environments. You can find these plants in the southwestern parts of the country and Mexico. 

12. Desert Marigold

The desert marigold is a flowering desert plant found in the deserts of Mexico, Utah, California, and Arizona. These plants are like large disks and can bloom throughout the hottest times of the year. These plants add a flash of yellow to deserts and arid areas. 

These plants love the sun and are an excellent choice for you if you live in arid areas and are looking for a colorful plant to lighten up the room. 

13. Yellow Palo Verde

The yellow Palo Verde is a large desert plant native to the Sonoran Desert. These yellow Palo trees usually grow around 16 ft tall and have yellowish-green foliage. During the dry season, these plants can lose their green foliage, but it grows back after the season. 

This plant can grow in harsh desert conditions because its brutal back carries photosynthesis. So after the rainfall, it all grows back. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

How Many Plants Are in The Desert?

There are at least 2,450 native desert plants found in the carnivoran desert, according to a very excellent article by Chris Clarke. If you want to learn more about deserts, you should join desert biodiversity, a new organization dedicated to exploring. 

Is Aloe Vera a Desert Plant? 

Aloe vera is a tropical desert plant that harnesses mechanical energy by triboelectricity and can withstand extreme heat and dry lands. 

What Plants Can Survive the Desert Heat?

Several succulent plants like the cacti, aloes, and agave can withstand extreme heat and dry conditions by storing plenty of water in their roots, leaves, and stems. In addition, in the desert, desert plants can trap water easily because the water doesn’t go too deep into the soil and quickly evaporates. 

What Are the Ways Plants Survive in The Desert?

Since the desert relates to the loss of water and extreme heat, the desert plant has to develop several adaptations to cope with the heat. Some significant ways these plants survive extreme heat includes; 

  • Possession of furry leaves
  • Curled-up leaves, so the water does not evaporate too quickly
  • Small leaves
  • Root systems that can store water
  • Large stems to store more water

Can I Put Aloe in My Hair?

You can directly apply raw aloe vera gel to your hair and scalp with your palms; ensure you massage it properly. Doing this helps retain the moisture in your hair and use castor oil on your hair right after. You can rinse it off your hair after 30 minutes; we also believe that aloe vera gel has hair growth properties.

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