Sample Scientific Research Paper Just as animals around the world have evolved to better survive in their environments, botanical life everywhere has also been forced to scientific research paper and adapt to their habitats. Every plant—from the smallest strain of seaweed to the tallest redwood—is the result of billions of years of competition for optimal growth conditions. The majority of cacti are made up of four simple parts: the stem, the needles, the flowers, and, like all plants, the root system.
The stem of a cactus acts as the plant’s water storage system. Once water is drawn in through the roots, it can be stored in the stem for long periods of time, allowing the cactus to live through the long periods of drought and intense heat for which deserts are so well known. Despite having few other plants providing competition, succulents have had to overcome some of the harshest living conditions on the planet. Extremely high temperatures during the day and evening temperatures that often dip below freezing are only the beginning of problems for desert plant life. Scarce rainfall coupled with very dry air make it difficult for plants to obtain water needed for photosynthesis and create competition between animals and plants. Needles are arguably the most important part of all cacti and are without a doubt the most obvious sign that a plant is in fact a succulent.
The reason needles are so vital to cactus survival is because they protect the plant’s stem, where photosynthesis is performed and water is stored. While the needles of succulents often make the plants look hazardous, inhospitable, and sometimes just plain ugly, when they flower in the spring, they are some of the most beautiful plants on the planet. Many cacti flower only at night, closing up during the day because the flowers themselves are often very sensitive to the relentlessly bright rays of the sun. Americans and Mexicans should be especially proud of this stunningly gorgeous plant, since the southwestern United States and Mexico are where the succulent family originated before it quickly spread as far north as Alberta and all the way south to the Straits of Magellan. All cacti found outside the American continents—even in Australia where they seem a natural part of the environment—were at some point introduced to the land from the Central American region.