Plant Adaptation Activities

Living beings adapt to the environment in which they grow. This feature is called as adaptation. Living organisms undergo variations as a result of genetic recombination. These variations over a long term turn into the genetic characteristics of the species. Plants, like any other species survive in different environmental conditions, undergo various genetic changes leading to adaptations.


Plants that grow in areas with very little rainfall are deprived of sufficient water. The roots of such plants grow deep into the soil. During rainfall, these roots absorb maximum water from soil and store them to for future water needs. Some plants grow in loose or unstable soil, not strong enough to hold the plant. Such plants develop complex prop roots to protect the tree from unstable environment. Some plants develop buttress roots coming out from the trunk and branches and reach the ground. An example of root adaptation is Ocotillo, which the roots grow underneath the soil to absorb maximum water to help the plant grow.


Plants in areas like forests receive very little sunlight. Such plants adapt to the light-limited environment by making maximum use of the available sunlight to aid in photosynthesis. The leaves of the plants found in such light-limited areas are dark-green in color. Some plants also have leaves with red undersides. The dark-green color helps them capture maximum possible sunlight. The red underside reflects light back into the leaf preventing loss. Leaves of some plants grow large to absorb maximum sunlight.


Plant flowers adapt to environmental changes to successfully reproduce. Plants alter the shape, size, color and smell of the flowers to aid in pollination. Pollination for some plants occurs through wind and for some through insects or animals. Plants pollinating through wind lack petals or nectar, to avoid being attracted from insects. Such flowers have small and dry grains that can be carried easily by wind. The flowers pollinated by insects possess attractive colors and scents with large and sticky seeds. An example of flower adaptation is baoaob in which large quantities of pollen are found hanging and are separated from leaves.


Plants develop various ways to defend themselves. Some develop thorns, hairs or toxic elements to avoid being destroyed or eaten. Some plants change their looks to look like harmful poisonous plants. Some species produce cellulose, hard to be digested by animals. This reduces the chances of plants being eaten up thereby helping in survival. An example of such plant is raspberry plant with thorns on its stems.

Keywords: plant adaptations, plant reproduction, adaptation of plants

About this Author

Based in Northern California, Devin Dupre-Neary has a bachelor's degree in nursing from UC Davis. Rather than move towards a master's or work in a hospital, he chose a different route. In 2009, he wrote professionally, part-time, writing articles on a host of subjects from health issues to gardening.