After reading 'Plants that Store Water' by Gillian Shannon the X-Men collaborated on a compare and contrast map and summary.
The desert is a hot, barren environment that makes for difficult conditions for plants and animals to survive. However there is one plant that is synonymous with the desert and that is the cacti. The cacti has adapted to live in an often inhospitable environment. We are comparing the cacti with another plant that is commonly found in backyards, florists and supermarkets, the rose.
The cacti and rose are similar in that there are many different varieties. There are over 100 types of roses such as modern garden rose, the climbing rose and the David Austin rose. However the cacti far outnumbers the rose with over 2000 types including the artichoke cactus, peyote and the cactus commonly seen in cartoons and movies, the saguaro cacti.
Both the cacti and rose like all plants need water to survive. A cactus can store water in their stems however roses don't store water and therefore need to be watered often. Roses transport essential nutrients in water through their roots or leaves.
Like all plants roses and cacti have leaves. However the leaves on cacti are very different compared to other plants. Most cacti have lots of spikes or needle like leaves, which act like an umbrella to protect the cacti from the hot sun and also prevent animals from eating them. Alternatively the rose has pinnate leaves. Pinnate leaves have a feather-like appearance and do not protect the rose but help absorb sunlight and water to help the plant grow.
The cacti and rose both have uses beyond being decorative. The cacti can be used for shelter by many animals and insects. The cacti can also provide water to people travelling through the desert as well as being turned into food such as jelly. The rose can also be eaten in the form of sweets and drunk as a flavouring in syrups. The rose also adds scent to perfumes and can even be used in medicines such as rosehip oil.
Overall we believe the cacti is a greater plant to have. Cacti are easier to grow as they don’t require as much watering, they can provide relief from thirst if you are in the desert and provide important shelter for desert dwelling animals. So next Valentine’s Day instead of a bunch of roses why not give your lady a cactus instead?