Temperate grasslands and plant adaptations

Written by john newton
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Temperate grasslands and plant adaptations
The characteristic tall grasses of the temperate grasslands. (Grasslands of the bush image by Joey Caston from Fotolia.com)

Temperate grasslands are composed of a mix of grasses with very few trees or large shrubs present. These grasses grow from some of the world's most fertile soils, which has led to many areas being converted to agricultural land, according to Radford University.

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Climate

Temperate grasslands experience hot summers and cold winters with moderate rainfall. The amount of rainfall received is highly variable, and droughts are common.

Soil

The soil throughout the temperate grasslands is extremely rich in organic material. According to the University of California Museum of Paleontology, these fertile soils developed as a result of the growth and decay of the grasses and their deep roots, which annually enriched the soil.

Plant Adapatations - Roots

The extensive root systems of prairie grasses prevent grazing animals from pulling roots completely out of the ground. In addition, the roots grow deep down into the ground to absorb as much water as possible. During fires, the above ground portion of grasses are destroyed while the deep roots survive to sprout again, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden website.

Plant Adaptations - Stems and Leaves

Prairie grasses have adapted to the unreliable levels of precipitation by growing narrow leaves, which restrict water loss. Many grasses have taken advantage of the windy conditions and are wind pollinated, while soft stems enable them to bend in the strong winds and prevent any damage.

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