Scientific Interest Studying Succulents for Botany Students

Succulents are fascinating plants with many interesting characteristics. It’s no wonder that botany students are interested in studying succulents. Their ability to store water is one of their most intriguing characteristics. Many of them can survive in conditions that are far too hot and dry for other plants. Succulents still have many secrets about how they function and evolve. When botany students tackle these mysteries, they could help inform our future efforts to protect endangered plants and much more. 

studying succulents

What are succulents?

The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word “sucus,” which means juice or sap. Even experts can find it difficult to pin down exactly which plants are succulents. In broad terms, succulents are plants that store water in their stems, leaves or roots. They have thick, fleshy leaves and come in many different shapes, textures and colors. 

Succulents include a wide variety of genus and species. They are found in multiple places worldwide. Succulent origins were in arid and semi-arid areas with long, dry periods, like Africa and Central America. They often thrive in places with regular, if infrequent, rainfall. 

What makes them different?

The thick, fleshy tissue of succulents is adapted to water storage. The water content of succulent organs like the leaves, stems or roots may reach 90 to 95 percent. Specialized cells have large vacuoles that fill with water. This means they can survive when water is scarce.

Succulents can take many forms. Popular ornamental plants like aloes and agaves are succulents. So are some small herbaceous rosettes and some woody shrubs and trees. Some have massive leaves, and others have tiny leaves.

The process of photosynthesis in succulents is different from other plants. The tiny pores called stomata in the leaves close during the day. This minimizes the loss of water during the hot daytime weather. Carbon dioxide uptake then happens at night when the stomata open.

Succulents are green, blue, red, purple, pink, and orange in color. Any extremes in temperature or a lack of sunlight or water can result in color changes. When succulents lack sunlight, they can be dull in color.

One of the amazing features of succulents is how easily they propagate. They can grow from the cuttings of a leaf or a stem.

Why are botany students interested in succulents?

Botanists are scientists who study plants. They are interested in their fascinating traits and the fact that they are essential to life on earth. An option for students is to specialize in specific types of plants, such as succulents. 

One area of interest for botany students is to study the mechanisms that allow succulents to conserve water and tolerate drought. They may want to study how rising temperatures, drought or flooding affect succulents. The anatomy of a succulent is another area of interest. Succulents are popular visual objects in a classroom to show adaptations to extreme habitats. Another interesting topic would be studying the medical and culinary use of succulents in different cultures.

Botany students can get essay writing help

Succulents are interesting plants from a scientific point of view. Therefore, many students of botany choose them as the subject of their scientific papers or essays. However, it can be difficult for beginning students to write about succulents as they are quite difficult students. Then they can turn to an essay writing service for help, where there are 500+ truthful essay writers who will help you understand any even the most complex topic. Students can choose a writer and receive a plagiarism-free, well-written essay with correct referencing of courses. An essay example like this can be an excellent way for students to understand what is expected. 

International organization for the study of succulents

There is an International Organization for Succulent plant study (IOS). It promotes the study and conservation of succulents. It also encourages international co-operation between those interested in them. Accelerating global change and the pressure of natural systems means insights into the mechanisms of drought resistance could be important in the future.

Other succulent adaptations

A thick, waxy layer creates a barrier to protect the water-storage tissue inside succulents. For some, hairs or spines help to protect leaves or stems from the sun and drying winds. Rounded leaf shapes can also reduce the surface area to minimize water loss. Many succulents have shallow roots that spread around the plants so they can make the most of even small amounts of rain. 

A paper by Dr. Olwen Grace of Kew Gardens called “Succulent plant diversity as natural capital” takes a closer look at succulents and where and how they thrive. She says we are only just beginning to understand about the innovations plants use to store water under drought conditions.


It is an exciting time to become a botany student working to document and conserve plant diversity. Succulents play an important part in understanding water storage in plants. Knowing more about certain traits in succulents may hold the key to various innovations in the future, such as growing drought-resistant crops.