ACS Distance Education UK
Many plant species are highly adaptable to extreme conditions, but not all.
Plants that come from places where the environment can be extremely variable are more likely to have developed biological mechanisms to withstand extremes.
Certain plants would never survive in a desert as they have not adapted to the hot and dry climate. Although some species develop well in extreme conditions and have adapted to certain climates such as the alpine zones of the snowy mountains or the hot, dry desert. Alpine species are low to the ground to withstand high winds and have minute leaves to withstand frost.
Plants have evolved to cope with extreme environments by using both physical and chemical adaptations. Some of these are outlined below:
Geographic areas where water is limited and infrequent are extremely stressful to plants living within these communities. Different plants have adopted a variety of techniques to deal with these conditions.
– Closed forests such as rainforests have dense canopies and therefore the amount of light which reaches the forest floor is greatly limited. Many plants have adapted to these environments in different ways such as:
Trees such as Mangroves have to cope with intermittent inundation of salt water and soil which is soft and low in oxygen. These are extreme environmental stressors and mangrove plants have developed various methods to adapt to this environment such as: