What are Succulent Plants?

by Lish
(Rochester,MN)

Why is it called a succulent plant?

Drought Smart Plants reply: Succulent plants are called that due to their ability to store moisture, making the leaves puffy and fat looking.

Many also use their roots as a water storage organ.

Plants from many different plant families show this ability, and they originate from diverse micro climates and habitats.

There are some that have developed stems that can store moisture, and also they have evolved many other protective devices, like wicked spines, thorns, waxy coatings and thick skins.

Many have done away with the necessity for leaves; instead, their stems have the green colour which indicates the ability to photosynthesize, or create energy from light with the aid of chlorophyll. All cacti are succulents, but not all succulents are cacti.

Some odd little succulent plants have also devised a curious method of protection from the hot sun, where they actually bury themselves, leaving only a tiny pebble looking thing with a window in it to enable them to survive. Lithops, the living stone plant, and other related plants have this ability.

There are many that use the storage of available water as a hedge against drought, which is usually predictable, and they can gradually shrivel to almost nothing until the drought ends, when they'll plump up again almost instantly.

This radical ability is also their downfall, as too much water around their roots can kill them.

See also succulent plants and succulents for more.

Happy Succulent Gardening!
Jacki


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