How Do Plants Adapt to Their Environment?

Grand Canyon National Park/CC-BY 2.0

Plants adapt to the environment by modifying their leaves, stem and roots. Desert plants such as the cactus modify their leaves into thorns to prevent loss of moisture through transpiration. Plants such as the lotus grow in water, have modified stems with pores and have short roots.

Plants growing in dry, arid regions have long tap roots that allow them to search deep underground for moisture. In very cold regions, the leaves of plants are needle-shaped. Plants that grow in tropical rainforests have broad leaves to allow more transpiration to take place, as the humidity levels are very high.

Desert plants are called xerophytes, while plants growing in water are called hydrophytes. Mesophytes are plants that grow in regions with moderate amounts of precipitation.