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Atacama landscape with cactus, Chile

Atacama landscape with cactus, Chile

C028/9398

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Credit

PETER J. RAYMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PETER J. RAYMOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Cardon Grande Cactus (Echinopsis terscheckii), growing in Cactus Canyon near San Pedro de Atacama in the Atacama Desert in Northern Chile. Cacti in the Atacama desert which is known as the driest non-polar region on Earth. Cacti are able to store water in swollen tissues, enabling them to survive in arid desert regions. Their spines are modified leaves that protect them from herbivores and reduce the moisture loss that occurs through normal leaves.

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