The leaves in a cactus plant are modified into spines to prevent the loss of water. Saguaro spines A surprising function of cacti spines is to provide shade for the cactus itself. To reduce loss of water through transpiration leaves of cactus plants are modified into spines. While most cacti plants are known to be desert plants, they can grow and thrive in a home environment too. Ranya Khurana. First, let’s look at the spines of cactus for what they are – the main part of cactus often functions as a modified stem, and its needles are the leaves. They replace the leaves of plants especially the ones which are living in dry conditions. Spines-leaves modified for protection. In adapting to dry habitats, most species of cacti have modified their leaves into spines otherwise too much water would be lost through the pores. 11/20/2014 10:44:14 pm. It can occur on a stem, leaf or other plant organ. Rena. Why are the leaves of cactus plants modified into... morphology-of-flowering-plants. These are modified buds called “areoles.” From the areoles spring the spines (usually) for which cacti are best known. The pitcher plant and Venus' flytrap use leaves to trap and digest insects. The central spines discourage foraging animals and capture rainwater, directing it downwards towards the roots. Cactus spines consist of just a core of fibers surrounded by sclereid-like epidermis cells. In cacti, spines are wholly transformed leaves that protect the plant from herbivores, radiate heat from the stem during the day, and collect and drip condensed water vapour during the cooler night. The areoles occur in rows or spirals along the stem. Note the sharp spines on the cactus above. Cacti plants have green and thick-walled stems dominated with a lot of needle-like structures referred to as spines. Over time, cacti modified them into clusters of sharp spines or hairs. Why do floating plants have air space in their root, In cactus leaves are reduced to spines. 3. Soft, broad leaves might be good at photosynthesis, but they lose a lot of water due to evaporation. A cactus spine is really a kind of modified leaf that becomes rigid and sharp. The actual “leaves” on the cacti are the spines, which are highly modified to protect it from animals that would love to eat its juicy stems. Some spines are called "stipular spines" because they are modified, sharp-pointed stipules at the base of a leaf. Cactus species with few or no spines often produce toxic chemicals as a defense mechanism. When the spines mature, all the cells in the spines are dead. Cactus Spines Are Modified Leaves. Thus, it can be seen as a structure derived from leaves. Bud Scales-are tough, overlapping, waterproof leaves that protect buds from frost, desiccation, and pathogens. Thorns. Since it has a bud in its axil, the spine occurs in the relative position of a leaf. The cactus leaves are modified into small spines, which reduce water loss and can protect the cactus from plant-eaters. Cacti are distinguished from the rest of the succulents by the rounded indentations along their stems. The word "cactus" derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek κάκτος, kaktos, a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is now not certain. Most of them have reduced leaves that are modified into spines and photosynthetic stems. ... Read Document. The leaves are further modified to provide yellow structures on the margins of the leaves which only function to feed the ants. The spines are actually modified leaves growing from spots or bumps called areoles. The correct answer is D. Reply. This loss of water by evaporation is called transpiration. This modification helps the plant to cut down transpiration and also protects the plants against the attacks of grazing animals. Cactus spines grow from the center and edges of the rounded areoles. Though thorns and prickles are similar to spines, they’re technically different. These new leaves were good at two things: avoiding water loss and protecting the plant (On this topic, I wrote a post on why cacti adapted to have spines instead of leaves). The leaves, becoming semi-vestigial, were put to a new use offering shade and surface shelter to the cacti. Some climbing plants have leaves modified into tendrils that can curl around surfaces and allow the plant to climb higher to reach more sunlight for photosynthesis. Modified branches or stem are known as thorns. Many cactus species also use their spines to tap into the moisture in the air. answered by Afreen Ibrahim. Hollies bear spines on the margins of their leaves as a deterrent to would-be browsers. Learn more about the members and physical characteristics of the family. Other articles where Spine is discussed: angiosperm: Leaf modifications: Spines are also modified leaves. Stipular Spines Modified for Mutualistic Ants: In bullhorn acacia, evolution has proceeded one more step. The main role of these modified stems and leaves is to store water for a reasonably long period and minimize water loss as well. Cacti have adapted to the harsh conditions they live in by developing areoles instead of branches and spines instead of leaves. Cactus spines are actually heavily modified leaves, although they don’t have any of the same structures that are found in normal leaves and are completely inert. The bright red leaves of the poinsettia look like flower petals. Any part of the leaf may get modified in to spine. The stem has adapted to supply those functions leaving the leaves to adapt to other uses. answer comment.. 1 Answer. But before you start growing these amazing plants, you need to know the different types of cacti that exist and their unique needs. The spine is technically a modified, sharp-pointed leaf. These spines help in storing water in the steams by reducing the amount of transpiration. Thorns are woody, sharp, straight and pointed structures. No, the cactus performs this through stems as the leaves are modified into spines. The leaves of the cactus are modified into spines because it needs to reduce loss of water through transpiration Reply. In cactus spines are found in groups which is called as areole. Fetch Doc . In cactus, leaves are modified into spines or thorns for protection and to prevent water loss through transpiration. Plant leaves have tiny pores called stomata that absorb carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen and evaporated water. In this plant the stipular spines are hollow and house mutualistic ants. because of the spines transpiration occurs less . Most cactus morphologists have concluded that cactus spines are either modified leaves or modified bud scales (the difference is inconsequential because bud scales themselves are modified leaves). Leaves are greatly reduced or entirely absent. It helps in reducing water loss. So cacti have few to no leaves – which is certainly not true of aloe vera. Among cacti, spines are very common. … Each leaf has a very different shape and function, yet all are homologous structures, derived from a common ancestral form. Stipular Spines: Stipules can become modified into spiines for defense. Spines are special plant structures. Spines of cactus plants are modified leaves or shoots located in the axil of a leaf. Numerous plants have spines of course, but in cacti, spines occur in clusters in the axil of leaves, even though the leaves are usually microscopic. A cactus (plural cacti, cactuses, or less commonly, cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. Cacti adapted to extremely xeric conditions with high variations in temperature to harsh for delicate exposed leaves. Cactus, flowering plant family comprising 139 genera and nearly 2,000 species, all of which are native to the New World with one possible exception. Only in two genera are fully formed leaves present. 11/20/2014 10:46:25 pm. In the many species of the spurge family… It is the woody modified leaf or leaf plant. e.g. First, let’s look at the spines of cactus for what they are – the main part of cactus often functions as a modified stem, and its needles are the leaves. There are, however, a few animals who aren’t deterred by the sharp spines of cacti such as javelina, tortoises and pack rats. Instead of having wide flat leaves like most other plants, cacti have evolved to have modified leaves which form sharp spines that protrude from the main plant body. The leaves in Cactus are modified into spines, this feature helps to reduce transpiration and also protects the plant from grazing animals. The cactus plant grows in a desert where there is a shortage of water. JONATHAN. As a young spine grows from a bud, it quickly turns into a dead lignified fiber.7 Sometimes, the spines are covered by a loose sheath formed from the dried epidermis. Leaves of cactus plants are modified into spines to reduce loss of water through transpiration. The thin, white, radial spines on the outside of the areoles reflect and absorb sunlight. It usually forms just below a bud or branch or on leaf. Spines are leaves that can no longer photosynthesize or exchange gases. Loss of water from the leaves tend the roots to pull more water from the ground. 0 votes . A spine is a thin, stiff plant structure with a sharp point. Cactus plants generally have few or no leaves. Cactus is a part of the Succulent family because it has fleshy stems which store water. therefore, it helps desert plant to save water in there body. ask related question comment. The swollen-thorn acacias of Central America actually have enlarged, hollowed-out, stipular spines occupied by stinging ants. The leaves are modified into the spines which can be observed on the stems. Only 2 types of cactus plants have leaves. asked in Morphology of Flowering Plants by Lifeeasy Biology. The stem is green and fleshy. Most desert leaves have evolved special sizes, shapes, surfaces, colors and other characteristics to keep transpiration at a … Thorns also provide protection to the plant from … Though cactus spines are modified leaves, they do not contain any of the cells or tissues characteristics of leaves when they mature. They can be branched or simple. Leaf-spines : In this type the leaves become wholly or partially modified into sharp pointed structures known as spines. Thank you for A2A. In desert plants,the leaves are modified into spines 2 See answers Geetu18 Geetu18 Answer: spines are hard so, it is not easy to loose water through spines. At first, it can be hard to believe that tiny cactus spines offer any real protection from the intense, desert sun. winter. The most obvious function of cactus spines is to protect the cacti from animals and people. "Cactus plants usually consist of spiny stems and roots. hiipranav hiipranav Answer: Because of the low concentration of water and moisture in that environment. A spines attract insects to the plant B spines provide more shade for the plant ... D - spines reduse water loss from the plant. The most obvious function of cactus spines is to protect the cacti from animals and people. Bud scales form before the onset of unfavorable growing seasons i.e. We can say that spines are modified leaves.6 To be more precise, cactus spines are modified scales grown from an axillary bud (areole). Spines on cactus: Cactus have spines to protect their succulent stems, and thus their precious water supplies. Reply. ADVERTISEMENT. This helps to conserve water and keep away animals. This is an adaptation of the plant to the arid environment that it is found in. Spines are formed as modified leaves which take the form of spines as the plant evolves. Most cacti feature thick photosynthetic stems and leaves that are modified as spines. Whenever it rains, the water is collected and stored in the highly modified stem region. Leaves release water from the stomata to cool the plant. But for the succulent plants to be called Cactus, they need to have a special structure which is present in the Cactus family. Zizyphus . This process is called transpiration. 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