The Web of Life (62) Plant Adaptabilities


Plants are acutely aware of their environment. ~ American botanist Daniel Chamovitz

Plants have persisted, relatively constant, across extinction events that radically altered the mix of animal life. When climactic events affected plant populations, they were always quick to make a comeback.

The reason is that plants have basic needs: some sunlight, water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, and a few trace elements. This list is short compared to animals. These necessities are universal among all plant groups, and unchanged through time.

Plants are relatively insensitive to the population size dynamics that can afflict animals. A few individual vascular plants near each other fare well compared to a diminished deme of tetrapods.

Other techniques that have conferred a timeless robustness to plants include water management, asexual reproduction, polyploidy, hybridity, and dormancy.