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Arid Adaptations
Photographer: Keith L
Taken: April 27, 2011
Caption: Arid Adaptations
Additional Description: A prairie plant has many special features that allow it to live in dry, windy areas. Find these features on the real plants nearby for a lesson on finding and holding water.

Big Bluestem Stiff Goldenrod Side-oats Grama Black-eyed Susan Butterfly Weed Rough Blazingstar Little Bluestem Purple Prairie Clover

Coating. Waxy or shiny looking leaves may have a covering that slows evaporation.

Leaves. Narrow leaves, as found on grasses, present only a small surface area to drying winds and the sun.

Hair. Tiny hairs on stems and leaves slow air movement and thus evaporation from the plants' surface.

Spacing. Do you see the bare ground between the plants? Spacing keeps plants from competing for water.

Roots. About 2/3 of a prairie plant lives below ground. Many threadlike roots near the soil surface quickly gather new rainfall. Deep taproots reach water buried far below. In some plants, such as prairie blazingstar, roots may reach 14 feet down!
Submitted: June 3, 2011, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.
Database Locator Identification Number: p155963
File Size: 2.225 Megabytes

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