Xeric 'Cactus-Like' Collection

Xeric environments (Ancient Greek ξηρός ksēros, “dry”), or desert-like environments, are some of the most extreme locations in which plants can be found.  Plants must possess exceptional adaptations in order to survive  with minimal water under intense solar radiation.

The most intriguing aspect of xeric species is their similar appearances, even when two species are unrelated and separated by thousands of miles.  Most xeric plants have a succulent-like growth habit; waxy on the outer surface with water rich tissues inside the leaves and stems, to prevent water loss.  Many xeric plants have also developed either C4 or CAM photosynthesis to better conserve water, differing from C3 photosynthesis, exhibited by the majority of plants not living in desert-like conditions.  Overall, most xeric plants resemble each other superficially, but with a trained eye, most families are quite distinguishable.  This is why xeric plants serve as a prime example of Convergent Evolution.