Adaptation in Response to Unfavorable Environmental Conditions

November 07, 2023



Photographer: Menashe Davidson      

Summary Author: Menashe Davidson 

Daily individual observation of the home garden plants is an important element in ornamental plant care. Earlier this year, my attention was drawn to the appearance of four inflorescence columns of uniform size in a plant known as the hedgehog cactus, which has particularly showy flowers. On the evening of May 26, 2023, the flower buds told me that early the next morning the flowers would open and survive just until the next day’s sunset. I cleared my agenda for May 27 to document in photographs this flamboyant blooming process. The first photo, a collage, documents this.

Near noon on the 27th, there was a change in the weather; the temperature climbed to 95 degrees F (35 degrees C), and hazy conditions prevailed, dramatically reducing the clarity of the atmosphere. As a result, contrary to my previous observations that the flowers preserve their blossoms for about 12 hours, the plants responded almost immediately by gathering the flower petals towards its center. (bottom photo).

Hedgehog cacti, like many other desert plants, have evolved various mechanisms to cope with high temperatures and dusty or polluted atmospheric conditions. By closing the petals, the hedgehog cactus minimizes exposure to excessive heat and limits water loss, ensuring the survival and reproductive success of the plant.  Photos taken from my home garden in Rishon Lezion, Israel.


Rishon Lezion, Israel Coordinates: 31.95, 34.8 

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