DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR MORLEY READ / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Cactus growing on the shore of Margarita Island, off the Caribbean coast of Venezuela. The fleshy body typical of the cactus family, Cactaceae, is in fact an enlarged stem. This is capable of storing large quantities of water, enabling the plant to survive in arid regions. Due to the mucilaginous nature of the cell contents and to the low surface area of these plants, the stored water is lost very slowly.
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