Why Plants in the Tundra retain their Dead Leaves?

Do Tundra Plants have Dark Leaves? How do Plants survive in Tundra? How do Animals live in Tundra Region? What causes a Tundra to form?
why plants in the tundra retain their dead leaves
Photo by Roberto Nickson on Unsplash

The tundra region is typically frigid or, in some cases, frozen terrain. The plants and animals in this area require specific adaptations to thrive because of the region’s short growing season. Less than 25 centimetres, or up to only 10 inches of precipitation, are seen annually. Therefore, the regions are also labelled as deserts. So, why plants in the tundra retain their dead leaves and why do tundra plants have dark leaves? Let’s start and find it out.

1. Why Plants in the Tundra retain their Dead Leaves?

Plants mostly retain dead leaves to prevent the loss of water in a dry environment. However, the leaf shedding reaction is the most common way plants remove their dead leaves which also includes the rotting of dead leaves. This process keeps the soil healthy and decreases the decomposition rate of organic matter. This is the reason why plants in the tundra retain their dead leaves. (See What are the Desert Cactus Types?)

2. Do Tundra Plants have Dark Leaves?

Tundra plants are dark because it helps absorb heat more than light colours. The stems in the plants have dark colours which help in absorbing the solar heat, and it keeps the plants warmer for a very long time. It is observed that some plants in the tundra can also be red. Must read What are the Weeds with Purple Flowers called?

3. How do Plants survive in Tundra?

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Photo by Falko Burghausen on Unsplash

Why plants in the tundra retain their dead leaves? If you knew the challenges of how plants survive in deserts then the challenges of tundra are far more difficult yet similar. The vegetation in the tundra regions prefers low precipitation and high freezing temperatures. The environment has high-blowing winds whereas the poor-quality soil remains frozen. However, there are still some plants which can survive the frozen challenge. Let’s discuss how do plants survive in tundra:

  • Many tundra plants have a very depthless root system, so they cannot grow in frozen soil.
  • Tundra has a very short growing season; this is the reason plants have started photosynthesis with less sunlight in spite of the colder climates. However, these plants grow quickly if they can find a suitable growing season.
  • A lot of plants have dark leaves to absorb the energy of the sun which is also a cup-shaped flower. These flowers are cup-shaped because they can focus on the sunlight which helps them grow.

4. What are the Examples of Tundra Plants?

Tundra itself means treeless plants which means tundra has low-growing trees. Some examples are Arctic Moss, Arctic Willow, Caribou Moss, Labrador Tea, Arctic Poppy, Cotton grass, Lichens and Moss. Also, see Ivy plants and facts.

5. How do Animals live in Tundra Region?

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Photo by Nevels Media on Unsplash
  • Animals do not have a huge chance to survive in harsh environments compared to plant species. Animals need shelter in the tundra.
  • The animals here tend to have thicker and warm feathers and fur. Many animals on tundra have their feet lined with fur to keep them warm.
  • A lot of animals have larger bodies and short arms, legs and tails which helps them to hold the heat better and reduce heat loss.
  • Many birds of the tundra have two coats of feathers to keep them warm. 
  • The animals in tundra regions go for hibernation in winters and many insects spend their entire life buried in the soil, rocks or plants. 

6. What are Alpine Tundras?

Alpine Tundra is found in mountains throughout the world over high altitudes where trees cannot grow. The growing season is for around 180 days. The temperature at night is below the freezing point. Must read Hydroponics: Plants That Grow In Water Only

7. What are the Types of Tundra?

  • Alpine Tundra
  • Arctic Tundra

8. What is Permafrost?

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Image by Florence D. from Pixabay

Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil and dead plants which extends over 450 meters below the surface. The southern tundra regions above the permafrost melt during the summer and have shallow lakes. Global warming impacts the fall freeze. The shrubs and spruce which cannot survive the root of the permafrost have changed their habitat for animals residing there. (See What are some Plants that prevent Soil Erosion?)

9. What causes a Tundra to form?

Tundra forms when the area around takes a lot of carbon dioxide than required. The tundra is the reason why the earth’s carbon dioxide sinks. Natural plants in the tundra region go under a regular photosynthetic cycle. They take oxygen during the summer months and then freeze quickly. However, in the tundra region, they undergo permafrost. 

Despite the extreme environment, many plants and animals have adapted to the tundra region. Some flora, such as lichen, moss, and heaths, flourish in the heated rock and are protected from the elements. Its bottom is hence wet and covered in marshes. With mosquitoes, flies, and other insects, the tundra is also an insect-rich environment. They also provide a home for huge creatures that can adapt to the tundra environment, like foxes and goats. Due to the photosynthetic process that occurs in the tundra zone, the plants there have an extremely dark colour.

Hope you are now clear on why plants in the tundra retain their dead leaves and how do plants survive in tundra. (Also read What Plants live in the Ocean?)

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