10 Awesome Desert Plants That Survive In The Deserts

desert plants

It does not rain much in the desert, and that is why these awesome plants are great water storage. This great ability keeps them alive in extreme hot temperature so that they can live despite the heat. The common things in desert plants are that they are often swollen, spiny, and they have tiny leaves.

Desert plants have the ability to adapt in deserts in 3 ways including succulence, drought tolerance, and drought avoidance. So no matter how harsh the temperature of the desert can be, these incredible desert plants are still standing. Below, you will find 10 incredible water tank desert plants that you can find water from in the desert.

1Barrel Cactus

Location: Mojave, Sonora, Chihuahua Deserts

Barrel Cactus is the type of cactus that is very easy to recognize due to its cylinder-shaped body. That can grow as tall as eleven feet which makes them the largest cacti in North America deserts. The interesting thing about them is that they are very useful in many ways. The locals can use barrel cacti to make food, to get water from the pulp, and more. People also make fish hooks from the spines of these cacti as well.

2Brittle Bush

Location: Coastal Chaparral, Dead Valley Through Mojave Desert, Sonoron Desert, Colorado Desert, Baja California

Brittle Bush is the type of desert plants that has branches sprout from a woody trunk. Their flowers start blooming from March to June, and that is when the desert becomes bright yellow. Back in the past, Brittle Bush provides a lot of advantages to people.

Such great desert plants secrete a clear resin which can be used as glue and even gum. The cool part is that people could ground it up to produce toothpaste. The same paste could be sprinkled on sores to relieve pain.

3Chainfruit Cholla

Locations: Sandy Soils, Plains of Sonoran and Chihuahua Desert, South Arizona, North Mexico

Resembles a tree, Chainfruit Cholla has a central trunk from which sprout many spiny branches around it. This kind of desert plants has flowers bloom at the end of the branches and on old fruit. The interesting thing about it is that its fruit breaks off easily when brushed up against, and that is when it sticks to you. That feels like a cactus jumped at you, and that goes the same with other desert animals.

4Creosote Bush

Location: Southeast America, Northwest Mexico, Desert Slopes and Plains of Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas

It is not every day you can find desert plants that are as useful as this one right here. The leaves of this bush can be made into antiseptics and emetics to destroy germs, and induce vomiting to clear poison from stomach. Another interesting thing about it is the ability to secure more water by inhibiting the growth of nearby plants. This desert plant is one of a kind, and it makes a great remedy for tribes and people in the desert.

5Crimson Hedgehog Cactus

Location: Deserts and Mountain Deserts in America

Crimson Hedgehog Cactus is a small barrel shaped cactus that grows in clumps of a few to a hundred stems. Both of the flowers and fruits are red, and the cool thing is its fruits are edible. Some Native Americans collect the flowers stems, burn off the spines, and mash them. With the adding of sugar, they can bake sweet cakes from this cactus with ease.

6Desert Ironwood

Location: Sonoran Desert

Being the tallest tree in Sonoran Desert, Desert Ironwood can heights from 15 to 30 feet. They grow very slow, and they are one of the longest living trees in Sonoran Desert since they can live as long as 1500 years. The awesome thing about such great desert plants is that they provide other desert plants and animals with food and shelter.

As it grows, it provides shades with good temperature for other desert animals to reside. Meanwhile, its seeds provide food for doves, quails, and other small rodents. Not all desert plants are that cool, that is why this one is super interesting to know about.

7Jumping Cholla

Location: Sonoran Uplands, Mojave Desert, California, Sonora, Mexico

Looks like a fuzzy and cuddly plant from the distance, Jumping Cholla is actually covered with silvery spines when you get closer. In case you touch the spines, that is a bad news because they will stuck to your skin and cause extreme pain. That is just the same when you step on them, the pain is equally too strong to bear. Jumping Cholla also has flowers and fruits, but the fruit is usually sterile which is inedible.


Location: Sonoran Desert

Goes by many names, Ocotillo is often used as fencing because its spines normally stop people and animals from passing through. There are also many other uses of these awesome desert plants as well. Ocotillo is lightweight and interesting, so there branches are used for cranes or walking sticks.

Its fresh flowers have a tangy flavor which sometimes use in salads. If not for salad, the flowers will be collected, dried, and used for tisanes. The cool thing is bathing water that contains crushed flowers or roots of Ocotillo is effective in relieving fatigue. You might want to remember how Ocotillo looks like in case you need them when you are in the desert.

9Pancake Prickly Pear Cactus

Location: Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert

The interesting thing about Pancake Prickly Pear Cactus is that they have reduced their leaves and spines to reduce water loss. This great adaptation allows this awesome desert plant to survive in hot temperature in the desert. The roots of Pancake Prickly Pear Cactus are made for very dry environment to help adapt to the desert. They use their pads to store water when there are rains to keep them alive during a drought. Their fruits are also very useful as well which makes jams, jellies, and candies are the most popular way to consume its fruit.

10Saguaro Cactus

Location: Sonoran Desert

Saguaro Cactus has a smooth and waxy skin, and it is covered with long spines on its vertical ribs. This type of cactus has a very strong framework consisting of three different structural features. Those two-inches spines play great part is helping the cactus to survive in extreme hot weather. The spines also help to cool the outer skin, and they also redirect the wind and insulate the plant as well.

Saguaro Cactus is protected by the United States government since they start to disappear from the landscape. There is a national park to protect the Saguaro Cactus known as Saguaro National Park.