This book begins with the physical and biological characterization of the four North American deserts and a description of the primary adaptations of plants to environmental stress. In the following chapters the authors present case studies of key species representing dominant growth forms of the North American deserts, and provide an up-to-date and comprehensive review of the major patterns of adaptations in desert plants. One chapter is devoted to several important exotic plants that have invaded North American deserts. The book ends with a synthesis of the adaptations and resource requirements of North American desert plants. Further, it addresses how desert plants may respond to global climate change. 86 figs., 21 tabs.