Plants that grow in arid ar­eas don’t have an easy life. They use some clever tac­tics to sur­vive:

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The suikerkannetjie has broad, flat leaves that keep the soil arounds its roots cool and damp.


This suc­cu­lent’s leaves are buried be­low the ground, with a translu­cent top sur­face (a leaf win­dow or “ven­ster” in Afrikaans) which al­lows sun­light to en­ter the leaves for pho­to­syn­the­sis.


The leaves of this lithop even­tu­ally dry out and form a white husk, which will pro­tect the next year’s young leaves. The white colour re­flects the sun’s rays and keeps the plant cool.


Old leaves of the kra­pogie (“crab’s eye” in trans­la­tion) turn bright white in sum­mer, pro­tect­ing the plant from the sun. When this hap­pens, the plant looks like a small pile of white eggs.

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