A plant adapted to the climatic conditions of the arctic or alpine regions.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a plant that grows on damp and cold soils. Psychrophytes are represented by various life forms, including shrubs, undershrubs, subshrubs, and perennial grasses. Psychrophytes include numerous lower plants, for example, several algae and rupicolous lichens. They also include a number of dwarf, trellis, and pulvinate plants.

Psychrophytes have adapted to a combination of unique life conditions—long winters, short vegetative periods, low air and soil temperatures, strong winds that dry up the soil in summer and compact the snow in winter, little precipitation, poor snow cover, high relative air humidities, and decreased supplies of nutrients. The root systems function at a soil temperature of close to 0°C. Reproduction by seeds is inhibited, since there is not enough time for the seeds to ripen. As a result, vegetative reproduction predominates. Psychrophytes include dryas, dwarf stone pine, and Kamchatka rhododendron.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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