Flowers With Leaves That Catch Water
- Plants and other organisms adopt forms that serve important functions. Colorful flowers attract bees that will pollinate the plant. Green leaves absorb light, an important element of photosynthesis, and help nourish the plant. Cacti take on the shape of barrels as they internally store water. Unlike cacti, there are varieties of plants with cupped and funnel shaped foliage that are not only pleasing to the eye but are capable of holding water externally.
- The urn plant (Aechmea fasciata) is a member of the bromeliad family and is native to tropical and near tropical environments. Urn plants are grown as outdoor ground-cover plants in tropical regions but everywhere else the plant is grown as an indoor ornamental. An urn plant, also called a silver vase plant, has stiff, waxy upright leaves that take on a rosette shape. A bract, or thin stem, rises from the center of the rosette and yields a pink ornamental flower. The plant is a popular houseplant because it is easy to care for. One of the reasons for this is the plant's ability to hold its own water in the space created by the rosette leaves. The plant's natural "vase" also allows it to thrive without soil. Horticulturists from the University of Florida explained how to cultivate an urn plant without soil. Moss is wrapped around the roots, which are wired to a tree trunk. The top of the plant is adjusted so that the vase will capture water.
- The cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum) is a member of the aster family but with heights ranging up to 10 feet it appears closely related to a sunflower. The cup plant's yellow flowers have a spread equivalent to that of sunflowers but lack a dark center. More than one flower extends from the upright stem. The "cup" describes the shape of the leaves. The leaves are 8 long and 5 inches wide and hold water. These cupped leaves provide water to goldfinches and attract butterflies. The cup flower is ubiquitous in Illinois, where it is a native plant.
Hen and Chicks
- These succulent plants (Sempervivum tectorumare) are composed of thick, waxy leaves arranged in a rosette shape. They grow low to ground and are quite compact. The rosette shape allows the plant to retain water. The succulent leaves also act as water reservoirs for this drought-tolerant plant. Mike Kuhn, a forester with the Utah State University Gardening Extension lists Sempervivum tectorum as a "fire wise plant." This plant retains moisture, is low to ground and contains fire-retarding oils. Although all plants burn in intense heat and flame, the Sempervivum tectorum is a wise landscape choice in wildfire prone regions.