Cactus hides from the sun: mescal cactus
The shoot of the mescal cactus adapts to seasonal water availability via dehydration-induced shrinking below the desert floor, and hydration-induced swelling to reemerge after rainfall.
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Here's another species:
"We investigated how the 'living rock' cactus Ariocarpus fissuratus, like other low-growing desert plants, can endure potentially lethal high temperatures at the soil surface. Specifically, we examined how shoot descent by root contraction in the presence or absence of soil rocks influences shoot temperatures and transpiration…Plants embedded in rocky soil survived an extreme heat episode, unlike plants in sandy soil, though rocks did not moderate low temperatures. Root contraction occurred regardless of season and soil moisture. Xylem conduits (wide-band tracheids) formed a compressible lattice that decreased root length as rays enlarged the root base radially. Plant position in the soil did not affect transpiration…Contractile roots pulled plants of A. fissuratus into the soil at rates of 6 – 30 mm [per year]. Maintaining shoots level with the soil surface kept plant temperatures below the high lethal temperature and improved survivorship in soil shaded by surface rocks." (Garrett et al. 2010:1951)
Lophophora williamsii (Lem. ex Salm-Dyck) Coult.
[Peyote, mescal cactus]
IUCN Red List Status: Unknown
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist
Application Ideas: Design irrigation systems that submerge themselves into the soil when soil is dry, initiate wetting until the soil reaches the proper level of moistness, which then triggers the system to shut off.
Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Irrigation