Succulent plants, also known as succulents or fat plants, are water-retaining plants adapted to arid climates or soil conditions. Succulent plants store water in their leaves, stems, and also in roots. Geophytes that survive unfavourable periods by dying back to underground storage organs such as tuberous roots, corms, bulbs, and rhizomes, may be regarded as succulents.

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 / 126 °F)
  • very impervious outer cuticle (skin)
  • mucilaginous substances, which retain water abundantly

Information taken from Wikipedia.


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