Alpine Tundra

Perennial Grasses/Plants

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A perennial plant is a plant that lives more than 2 years, or a winter hardy plant. In this case, being both. The picture you see is what you will see in the very limited sunny or growing period in the Alps. This will only last no more than 1 and a ½ months in the tundra. Most of these plants a dwarfed due to being there for thousands of years and have had to adapt to the powerful winds and lack of water for growing. But their flowers are that of a regular sized grass.

Lichens

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Not only the perennial grasses live here, the Tundra are equally as dominated by Lichens and mosses. Lichen is an alga and fungi living as a combined organism, sharing the very few nutrients it may come across so this is very much a mutualistic relationship between the two organisms and is a perfect example of a symbiotic relations going on in the Alps. Although lichens are plants, they are one of the few with no root or vascular system (the transport of water and nutrients from one part of the plant to another).

Dwarfed Shrubs

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Growing only a few inches in height to keep their exposure to the harsh conditions to a minimal, dwarfed shrubs use the cover of other plants to shroud themselves from the various abiotic factors in the area. The stems are short, wood-like and highly resistant to the strong winds. They flower during the short growing season (less than 2 months), and fruit grows to spread the seeds (the plants form of reproduction) as well as to provide fruit for the few species of fauna that roam these lands. Dwarfed shrubs also tend to grow very slowly as other plants here often do because the alpine conditions are not very accommodating for plant life to grow , as the soils give minimal nutrients and/or water to draw upon.

Heaths

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Defined by their shrub and evergreen appearance, heaths are one of the few plants that survive in the very difficult growing conditions of the alpine tundra. Growing short and unnaturally low to the ground (one of the adaptations the plant has had to make). Heaths thrive in acidic soil. The heath's leaves are long and which allows the continuation of the photosynthesis process even in colder months in the alpine tundra. Heath plants are able to withstand the strongest of winds due to being close to the ground and having a very strong root system, which is brutal enough to uproot smaller plants. Heaths are a fruiting plant, giving off somewhat small capsule fruits. Some common types of heath fruits found all throughout the alpine tundra are the cranberry the blueberry.