When an area turns to desert, life in the region is reduced to the primary stage of ecological succession: bare rock.
But life always finds a way. Microbes, fungi and lichen survive in this kind of soil. They (very) slowly make the soil habitable for the first plant organisms, also known as pioneer plants.
The hardy plant species consist mostly of grasses, mosses and certain legumes. Their biggest advantage: they can survive where other plants can’t.
These plants are responsible for introducing nitrogen and other crucial nutrients into the soil. If successful, other newcomers will benefit from the pioneer plants’ work.
With time, they will even outgrow them, and take their space. But such is nature, the only constant is change.