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The vegetation of the Mojave and Colorado deserts:
Shrubs are the most common life form in the California deserts and display the widest assortment of adaptations to drought and heat stress. Many are drought-deciduous, with the ability to drop their leaves to stop water loss through transpiration when conditions become too unfavorable. Those that retain their leaves year-round are the droughtenduring evergreen shrubs. They withstand the heat with diminished or divided leaf surfaces or have pale-colored or hairy leaves to reflect sunlight. Waxy coatings or very small pores to minimize water loss are also common adaptations. Leaves may also be oriented upright for minimum exposure to the sun. Look for a combination of these characteristics when examining desert shrubs. Shrubs can be subdivided into evergreen shrubs such as creosote bush, drought-deciduous shrubs such as bursage, and winter deciduous shrubs that have deep roots in riparian habitats.
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