The leaves of conifers protect from drought, snow and cold by employing unique design elements, including a needle shape, thick waxy rinds, and pores set in deep grooves in the needles.
"Some species of tree, even outside the balmy climates of the tropics, manage to produce a kind of leaf that can survive both drought and cold. Conifers do so. Many of them grow branches that, instead of rising upwards towards the sky, slope gently downwards. In consequence, snow tends to slide off them and does not accumulate into huge loads that might break them. Their leaves are not flat and broad but needle-shaped. They have a thick waxy rind, very little freezable sap, and pores that are set in the bottom of a deep groove running the length of the needle." (Attenborough 1995:88-89)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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