Skip Navigation
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.
     

Image that says Biomes.

Taiga: Plants
Because the climate of the taiga is very cold, there is not a large variety of plant life. The most common type of tree found in the taiga is the conifer--trees that have cones. Four kinds of conifers are common in the taiga. Three of the common conifers are evergreens; spruce, fir, and pine. The fourth common conifer is the tamarack, or larch, a deciduous tree. Under certain conditions, broadleaf trees, such as birch and aspen, are able to survive the harsh climate of the taiga. Photo: Evergreen and deciduous conifers. Insert is a branch section of a deciduous conifer. Photos Gayle W. Croft.

Image of some evergreen and deciduous confiers with a close-up on a deciduous conifer branch.

Plant adaptations
Evergreens use a wide variety of physical adaptations. Some of these adaptations include their shape, leaf type, root system, and color. Their name, evergreen, describes an important adaptation. They are always--or ever green. Because they don't drop their leaves when temperatures cool, they don't have to regrow them in the spring.

Growing new leaves takes a lot of energy. Plants get their energy from the soil and from the Sun. Soil is a source of nutrients. Sunlight is necessary for photosynthesis to take place in the plant. The taiga soil doesn't contain many nutrients, and the Sun usually remains low in the sky. These two factors limit the amount of energy available to the tree. By keeping their leaves, the evergreens are able to use that limited energy for structural growth rather than producing leaves.

Image of some evergreen trees covered in snow.Although the taiga has moderately high precipitation, the ground freezes during the winter months and plant roots are unable to get water. The adaptation from broadleaf to narrow needle-like structures limits water loss through transpiration. Evergreen needles do not contain very much sap. This limits the risk of needle damage from freezing temperatures. The needles do, however, contain a chemical that repels animals who would eat the needles. The dark green color of the needles absorbs the sunlight, and since the needles are always present, once temperature start to get warm, photosynthesis quickly begins. The conical shape of the evergreens allows the snow to slide off the branches rather than pile up. If the snow can't pile up on the branches, there is less risk of broken branches due to the weight of the snow. Photo 2000-www.arttoday.com

Back | Next

 

 


Image that says Earth Floor.
Button that takes you to the Diversity page.
Button that takes you to the Adaptation page.
Button that takes you to the Plate Tectonics page.
 Button that takes you to the Cycles page.
Button that takes you to the Spheres page.
Button that takes you to the Biomes page.
Button that takes you to the Geologic Time page.

  Biomes
  Biome Summary
  How to Read a Climograph
 

Arctic Tundra

  Deciduous Forest
  Desert
Image of a star. Taiga
[ Animals | Plants ]
Tropical Rainforest
Tropical Savannah
 
             
     
Button that takes you to the Exploring the Environment home page.

Animals | Plants

Biomes | Biome Summary | How to Read a Climograph | Arctic Tundra | Deciduous Forest | Desert | Taiga | Tropical Rainforest | Tropical Savannah

Diversity | Adaptation | Plate Tectonics | Cycles | Spheres | Biomes | Geologic Time

  Image of a castle that links back to the MSESE home page.  
Button that takes you to the Dinosaur Floor page.Button that takes you to the Earth Floor page.Button that takes you to the Resource Room page.Button that takes you to the Teacher's Lounge page.Button that takes you to the Elevator page.

Site maintained by the ETE Team
Last updated on
April 28, 2005

Some images 2004 www.clipart.com

Privacy Statement and Copyright 1997-2004 by Wheeling Jesuit University/NASA-supported Classroom of the Future. All rights reserved.

Center for Educational Technologies, Circuit Board/Apple graphic logo, and COTF Classroom of the Future logo are registered trademarks of Wheeling Jesuit University.