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Variety of Life - Plants Slideshow

Forest species of plants So now you're an expert on all plants across the Earth. Hardly. Scientists believe there may be over 300,000 species of plants across the planet. There is still a lot to learn and discover about plants. They are in all environments that have light. You will find plants in the hottest deserts and small plants popping up from the snow during Antarctica summers.

As you study more plants and watch them grow, you will see trends. Succulents with thick water-holding stems are found in deserts. Rainforest plants often have very large leaves. Plants that are found in dry areas often have small and oily leaves that help slow the loss of water (transpiration). Forests at higher latitudes have more conifers that stay green year-round, even through snowy winters. Plants are everywhere and in every size and shape. Is anything the same about them? Photosynthesis.

With so many plants, they seem indestructible. How could our actions ever hurt them? Well, we can hurt them. While there is a debate on how much influence we have on global warming, this trend is altering the world. Climates across the planet are slowly changing. If things continue to warm, rainforests will have less rainfall, hurricanes can become stronger, and sub-arctic regions will begin to lose snowy winters. These climate changes all increase the stress on plants. Larger plants might fall over in stronger storms or plants that require cold winters to bloom will start to die out. Even our best scientists cannot predict the many possible changes. Be careful and conserve where you can. Plants are your friends.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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