PLANTS IN THE TUNDRA
The tundra biome is one of the most special and rare regions in the world. A region with weather conditions like no other, a freezing cold climate all year round with little to no rainfall, insufficient soil, and a dry terrain makes it for plants that live in the tundra to flourish and grow. Tundra plants are equipped with the right adaptations to sustain somewhat of a life and during the days of small amounts of sunshine, a few more species begin to sprout.
PLANTS IN THE TUNDRA
Plants that grow in the tundra are usually small in size as the land and soil make it extremely difficult to grow on a large scale. Why is this? In order to understand plants in the tundra, it’s important to understand what platform these various tundra biome plants have to grow on. The tundra regions are covered by a layer of frozen soil that sits right under the top layer of soil. This frost is permanently frozen and is made from old, dead plant materials and a mixture of stones and rocks and is called Permafrost, this makes the soil lacking in nutrients and minerals that plants need in order to grow healthy and easily. The stuff that’s stored in this layer of permafrost is from centuries ago and this is because the weather conditions never allow for this element to melt and biodegrade, instead, it just gets stuck there forever. So the only chance plants really have to grow is during the few days where it gets a little bit warmer and the very top layers of the permafrost can melt and fall deeper into the ground to create enough space for plants to assemble their roots.
WHAT PLANTS LIVE IN THE TUNDRA?
Tundra plants life in this biome is quite surprising since you wouldn’t find “normal” types of plant species, instead, a rare variety of plants found in the tundra are small and short in size, meaning they don’t grow upwards but rather along with the soil and often form in large groups in order to protect themselves from the harsh winds in the region. There are not many plants that grow all year round but rather form during the months of hotter weather the tundra biome experiences yearly. However, there are over three hundred different types of plant species that can be found at one point or another during the year. The tundra plants’ life is very short-lived as most of them die and decay into the soil in a matter of weeks but this is also useful for the animal inhabitants within the region as they use them to sustain themselves during the harsh and freezing winter months.
Now let’s talk about what plants do actually grow in the tundra regions.
The Bearberry is a small plant in size and grows extremely close to the ground with very short roots allowing into to make a stable base for itself within the unconditional layer of topsoil. This little plant sprouts berries that are bright red in color, these attract the presence of various bird species and can actually survive and produce berries throughout the whole year.
Diamond leaf willow
Think about a Willow tree for a second, these are usually huge in size and can be seen from miles away, however, this type of Willow tree is a little bit different to what you may be picturing. These trees are in fact very short in size and have a layer of ‘Hair’ that covers its stems and roots, allowing it to stay warm during the really cold months. This plant is strong and unlike most other plants in the tundra it grows alone, this is because it is strong enough to withstand the harsh winds, it also is edible and provides a lot of nutrients for animals as well as people.
This is a type of wildflower that grows right on top of the ground practically just peeking above the top layer of soil. It grows beautiful white petal flowers that sit on top of very thick stems, you can mainly find them growing in the really rocky areas of the tundra.
TUNDRA PLANTS ADAPTATIONS
In order for these various plants to even begin to grow in a region like a tundra, they have to adapt to their surrounding in order to stand the slight chance of survival. One of the most important adaptations is that they grow very close to the ground and do not sprout upwards. So what is the main reason that the tundra does not have large plants? The main reason is a part of the adaptation process, for one a large plant is much less stable than one that is firmly rooted in the ground as the tundra has many gusts of harsh and extremely strong winds that would knock over anything that cannot withhold itself if a plant is large and tall in size they are more likely to get hit by the wind, snapped and broken and separated from their roots, however, a shorter and closer to the ground plant has less chance of this happening and this is a very important element of keeping the plant species alive in the tundra biome regions. Tundra dominant plants have also adapted to the conditions of the tundra by establishing the ability to grow even under the snow as well as growing extremely close together to help support each other from the threatening weather conditions. plants that contain flowers have also adapted by producing flowers in a very short space of time as soon as they receive enough sunlight. Plants in the tundra also have very short and small leaves, this allows them to keep more water and moisture within them instead of losing huge amounts throw their leaves, thus allowing them to grow during the extremely cold months of the year.
TUNDRA PLANTS LIST
- Pasque flower
- Labrador tea
- Arctic moss (arctic tundra plants grown in the northern regions of the Arctic)
- Reindeer moss
- Arctic willow
TUNDRA PLANTS AND ANIMALS
The bottom line about the Tundra region is that there is in fact life within an ecosystem that is completely different from most parts of the world. Due to the harsh and irrational weather conditions, all the species of animals and plants that can be found have adapted according to what is needed to survive. Just to be able to see plants growing in such terrain is a gift in nature, animals and plants use each other to help survival rates increase.
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