How do desert plants survive extreme temperatures with so little water? A variety of special adaptations have made desert plants tough and resilient.

Light blue or silvery foliage keeps plants cooler since light colors absorb less heat than darker colors.

With a smaller surface area exposed to the sun, small leaves do not become as hot.

Vertical leaf orientation minimizes direct sun exposure during the most intense heat of the day and curled or cupping leaves allow plants to create their own shade.

Spines and needles protect many desert plants from animals that may try to eat them. Many desert plants go into dormancy and lose their leaves during dry spells.

Succulents, cactus and agave store water in their thick waxy leaves to survive drought.

Desert plants tend to have wide spacing between other plants so their deep and spreading roots can access more water in the soil.

These special adaptions are displayed in the garden.