Survival. “The private life of plants” dives into the survival of many different plants in extremely bitter environments. One place being investigated is an island just 850 miles north of the Arctic Circle. These ice fields can’t sustain any life due to the four key elements to survival is scarce. Water, nutrients, warmth, and light are the four elements “The Private Life of Plants” talks about.
While the island is covered in snow and is considered frozen water plants need liquid water to be able to uptake any of it. Nutrients well there practically aren’t any, most of the landscape is rock. Warmth and light are the final elements discussed and for six months of the year it’s dark so there is no light or warmth. However, during the summer when the ice melts algae and lichens can grow on these rocks.These plants must remain close to the ground because of the frigid winds. Flowers can also be found if one looks very closely, the one found is a type of mustard but much smaller than its relatives.
Certain trees like the willow, which grow horizontally rather than vertically, grow enough to sustain musk ox. The musk ox is beneficial when it dies because it releases nutrients into the soil and provides shelter for flowering plants. Like all the plants the artic poppy depends on warmth to grow, but what makes the poppy so different is that it the poppy turns its flower to follow the sun as it rises and sets. The warmth it collects from the sun allows it to develop all the seeds it needs to make before the end of summer. 200 miles south in the Alps, similar events occur. While spring in the Alps means a higher sun, this also means a majority of the snow is melted.
As the snow melts it reveals flowers, mostly already flowering. The buds were made last autumn before the cold shut down its activity. The buds remain dormant until the snow melts. During the summer, the high meadows fill with flowers. Due to the harsh temperatures of winter the flowers decay very slowly.
This means a thin layer of soil develops over the rock, this makes it difficult for trees to take root. Making shallow rooted flowers have most of the mountain to themselves. But, as you climb the mountain the temperature drops about 30 degrees. The flowers adapt to these temperatures by forming humps, or a cushion.
This is a way of conserving heat, ultimately acting a solar panel. These cushions develop thousands of shoots growing as one, in one yard of cushions there could be 1000 different species present.