Wintering, Plant

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Wintering, Plant


the life of plants in winter in temperate, cold, and, in part, subtropical climates. Plant groups in the course of evolution developed various physiological, biochemical, and morphological adaptations that enable them to withstand unfavorable winter conditions. All are characterized by a slowing of metabolic activity (for example, the respiratory rate slows by several dozen times).

Herbaceous annuals (for example, cowwheat and marigold) pass the winter as dormant seeds, and herbaceous perennials, whose leaves die off in winter (horsetail, couch grass, tulips, and many others), as such underground organs as tubers, bulbs (some develop under snow), rhizomes, shoot-forming roots, and tillering nodes from which new shoots and leaves arise by spring.

Herbaceous wintergreen perennials (winter cereals, clover, pansies, asarum, and many wild grasses) retain their green parts in winter while under deep snow or fallen leaves. There is less evaporation from trees and shrubs whose leaves fall in winter (birch, oak, linden, honeysuckle, and so forth); therefore, they withstand winter and spring drought better than other varieties.

Wintergreen (and evergreen) trees and shrubs, which retain their foliage all winter (conifers, mountain cranberry, and tea and citrus in the subtropics) have acquired traits of xeromorphism (thick cuticle, blockage of stomata, and so forth) to withstand winter and spring drought. There are many transitional plants that do not fit any one of these groups.

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