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Succulent appearance

By yvonne, 06/22/2019 - 19:46

A collection of succulent plants, including cacti, from the Jardin botanique d'Èze, France

The storage of water often gives succulent plants a more swollen or fleshy appearance than other plants, a characteristic known as succulence. In addition to succulence, succulent plants variously have other water-saving features. These may include:

Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) to minimize water loss
absent, reduced, or cylindrical-to-spherical leaves
reduction in the number of stomata
stems as the main site of photosynthesis, rather than leaves
compact, reduced, cushion-like, columnar, or spherical growth form
ribs enabling rapid increases in plant volume and decreasing surface area exposed to the sun
waxy, hairy, or spiny outer surface to create a humid micro-habitat around the plant, which reduces air movement near the surface of the plant, and thereby reduces water loss and creates shade
roots very near the surface of the soil, so they are able to take up moisture from very small showers or even from heavy dew
ability to remain plump and full of water even with high internal temperatures (e.g., 52 °C or 126 °F)[16]
very impervious outer cuticle (skin)[16]
mucilaginous substances, which retain water abundantly[16]