Desert Diversity. Thriving in a Dry Place. Plant Adaptations. In the Sonoran Desert areas of Saguaro National Park plants must be able to live in a place that gets less than 12 inches of rain a year, where temperatures can reach 115 degrees and the sun shines more than
Thriving in a Dry Place
In the Sonoran Desert areas of Saguaro
National Park plants must be able to live
in a place that gets less than 12 inches of
rain a year, where temperatures can reach
115 degrees and the sun shines more than
300 days a year!
In places that are not so dry, plants are
known for their large leaves … like a
maple tree’s. But in the desert, leaves
must change so they will not lose water
and dry up in the heat. These special
changes for the desert environment are
Use the photos in this presentation and
the materials and instructions you get
from your teacher to explore the
changes to leaves that have allowed
desert plants to thrive in a dry place!
The Palo Verde tree is the State Tree of Arizona, home of Saguaro National Park.
Research: What does “paloverde” mean? (Hint: it’s Spanish.)
One of the most common plants in the Sonoran Desert, the creosotebush “smells like rain” when its oils are released into the air during storms.
Research: Creosotebush is greasy like creosote… but what is creosote?
Mormon Tea was used has a refreshing and medicinal beverage by Native Americans and settlers alike.
Research: Instead of flowers, Mormon Tea has male and female cones. What plant in your area has cones?
Jojoba seeds are a source of an excellent oil that is used instead of whale oil. “The plant that saved whales.”
Research: Find out one common product in your house that may have jojoba oil.
Ocotillo has bright red, nectar-rich flowers that attract hummingbirds in spring.
Research: What does “ocotillo” mean? (Hint: it’s Spanish.)
The Yucca flower is the State Tree of New Mexico, and common in it’s Chihuahuan Desert.
Research: Find out one common product in your house that may have yucca extract.
The Agave plant stores water in its leaves for 15 to 30 years. Then it grows a flower stalk, sets seeds, and dies!
Research: Find out one product in an adult drink (Margaritas!) that comes from agave.
The “Giant Cactus” can grow to nearly 60 feet and weigh 20 tons or more!
Research: What state has the Saguaro flower as its state flower?
Look at the pictures of the dry season and wet season Brittlebush. It’s your call … how does brittlebush change its leaves for the seasons? (There are at least two answers!)
Can you guess why it is called Brittlebush?
Saguaro National Park and use it to figure
out how other desert plants have changed
their leaves to survive!