Long, sweltering summer days where the sun seems to hang overhead endlessly can be just as cruel to desert plants as it is to people.
Plants, however, can't run for the nearest shade to escape the glaring sun, so some have developed ways to shade themselves. Dense spines shield cholla cacti and dead leaves fold down the trunk of yuccas.
Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) avoids the intense midday heat by orienting its leaves vertically. This way, the sun only reaches the flat leafsurface in morning and late afternoon – when temperatures are cooler.
[NPS/Brad Sutton; #alttext close up image of a portion of a shrub with dense, olive-shaped, pale green leaves that stand vertically from branches, scattered vegetation and rugged mountain extend into the distance under bright sunlight]