For millennia, plants have evolved to exist within ecosystems, contributing to the earth’s abundant cycles and linear series. Through the use of photosynthesis and respiration, plants have come to adequately absorb, converted, and dispense matter within their surrounding environments. Whether taking root in tropic jungles, dry deserts, freezing tundra’s, or somewhere in between, plants continue to demonstrate amazing adaptations of survival, defense, and reproduction. These higher forms of intelligence can be illustrated through the observation and illustration of such organisms. In this particular lab we decided to focus on the three specimens we thought effectively exhibited traits exemplary of their habitats– acrocomia aculeate, echinocactus grusonii, and Vanilla planifolia . Illustration I. Echinocactus grusonii Better known by its vernacular name, the barrel cactus, this plant is a very unique specimen native to the deserts. Located in the deserts of central Mexico and Southwestern United States, this plant demonstrates several key adaptations specific to its hot, dry surroundings. With regards to water and energy conservation, one must look at the cacti’s physical capabilities. Amazingly this plant can expand and contract at astonishing levels. 1 When moisture is present, the plant will swell in order to utilize its maximum volume 2 , while it will shrink to during water shortages to conserve space and energy. The amount of water present inside the cactus can be determined externally by observing the rib depth. 1 Accordion nature (ribs) for water conservation and climate control 2 Spherical shape allows for maximum volume and water storage Additionally, located on the ribs is another prominent feature, needles.
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- Spring '14
- Photosynthesis, barrel cactus, macaw palm