Aspect, Biological

Aspect, Biological

 

the external appearance of a plant community, which changes throughout the year in accordance with the succession of the phases of development of plants. As a rule, aspect is repeated year in and year out in almost identical sequence. Thus, in spring, when the trees are still bare, the herbaceous vegetation of deciduous forests develops rapidly and gives the forest a special coloring, distinguished by the brightness of the greenery and sometimes also the many colors of the flowers. In summer, when the trees become covered with foliage and cast shade on the ground, the grass cover loses some of the variety of flowering plants, certain spring flowers end their vegetation, and the grasses become duller and monotonous in color. The changes of aspect in the steppe are especially distinct, and these have been studied by the Russian scientists G. I. Tanfil’ev, I. K. Pachoskii, V. V. Alekhin, and others.

Sometimes temporary aspects intrude upon the sequence of aspects that occurs year in and year out—for example, the aspect that occurs only in years of massive flowering or fructification of the plants of a certain species, which depends largely upon climatic conditions. Aspects are usually named after the plants that play the greatest role in them and sometimes will also include an indication of the predominant color, such as the golden-yellow adonis aspect, the blue forget-me-not aspect, and the brown aspect of dead sedge leaves.

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