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Plant Structures and adaptation to their environment

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1 Plant Structures and adaptation to their environment

2 There are over a hundred thousand different plant species in the world, many of which we don’t even know about yet. Plants have developed to fit almost every niche that our world has to offer. You find plants everywhere from the bottom of the oceans, to the tops of mountains and everywhere in between. How do plants do this?

3 You may have noticed that although plants are everywhere, they are very different
Can you list all of the different ways plants in the desert have adapted to survive there? What about the plants in Northern Alberta? The rain forest?

4 Different Plants Have Different Needs.
Each type of plant thrives in a different type of environment. The characteristics of the environment that influence a plants success include The amount of light available. The amount of water. The amount of space available. The amount and types of nutrients available.

5 Different plants use different amounts of nutrients.
Nutrients are substances that provide energy and materials for plants to grow. There are five main types of nutrients that plants use, but not all plants use them equally. For example a pine tree might use a lot of nitrogen but not very much phosphorous, but a cactus might use a lot of phosphorous, and not much nitrogen. There are five main types of nutrients that plants use that you should know. They are Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium, Calcium, and Magnesium.

6 Conifers and Cactus’: The same only different
Both cactus’ and pine trees have developed thick cuticles on their leaves to protect against water loss. Can you think of any other ways the two are the same? What about differences? Both conifers and cactus have thick waxy cuticles to help preserve water, both have spikey leaves to protect them, Even though they are a lot the same they are also very different. Cactus’s live in much hotter climates, but they still share different features.

7 How are plants in the rainforest adapted????
The rainforest is so densely covered that plants have had to adapt to survive. Because all plants need sunlight plants in the rainforest have begun an evolutionary battle for sunlight. Some plants have adapted by growing taller than all of the others so that they get the light first. Some have become very dense so that they catch all of the light that the taller plants miss. Some have adapted to live on the taller trees, and some have adapted to survive with only a little bit of light.

8 A picture of rainforest layers
In the rainforest Immature plants only reach maturity when a large plant dies. The immature plant will then fill the space that the older plant left in the canopy layer. In seasonal places some plants have adapted to do most of their growing before the other plants have sprouted their leaves and there is a lot of light is available. Once the larger trees are covered in leaves the smaller plants reduce or totally stop growing.

9 Annual vs Perennial Annual plants are plants that will grow for only one season. Annual plants will bloom produce seeds and then die. Perennial plants will grow and continue to produce seeds for a number of years. Perennial plants tend to be larger and more complex because they have more time to develop. Perennial plants often have bulbs. When winter comes the rest of the plant will die but the bulb remians in the soil and grows a new plant the next year.

10 Coniferous vs deciduous trees
Deciduous trees are also known as broadleaf trees because the leaves are generally larger and wider than those of conifers.  The larger leaf size means a greater surface area for photosynthesis, but it also mean the leaf is too fragile to withstand winter conditions.  Therefore, most deciduous trees drop their leaves in autumn. Coniferous trees keep their leaves throughout the year, shedding only the oldest leaves. Usually these leaves are lower down on the tree and do not receive as much sunlight as newly developed leaves higher up.  Some of the best-known members of the conifer family are pines, spruces, firs, and hemlocks. The cones of the conifers are its flowers.

11 Plant adaptations There are thousands of ways that plants have adapted to their environment many more that can be covered in class. Can you think of some reasons that some plants are poisonous, while others are sweet? Why some are tall while others barely get off the ground? What other adaptations can you think of that plants have developed?

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