An international team of scientists conducted a large-scale study of information sources and identified 114 plant species from 24 families that are hibernating in order to benefit in the long term.
The family of orchids is known for the fact that its representatives are able to “fall asleep” underground for several years, and then to germinate at a more favorable time. In the new work, biologists showed not only other types of plants that go into hibernation, but also tried to identify the reasons for this behavior.
According to experts, the stop in development is due to the benefits that appear in the long run. It seems that the lack of reproduction will negatively affect the population of the genus, but in reality the surrounding conditions can only harm. Analysis of different species, including Castilleja mollis, Cephalanthera longifolia, Cypripedium calceolus, and their geographical position showed that plants “assess” the threat of herbivores, the risk of unfavorable climate and “decide” whether the season is suitable for shoots.
Graphs showing the ratio: (a) the amount of precipitation at the time of hibernation, (b) the latitude at hibernation time, (c) the duration of the hibernation study / Ecology Letters
Co-author of the study from Sussex University, Michael Hutchings (Michael Hutchings) commented:
“It seems paradoxical that plants behave this way. Under the ground, they can not produce photosynthesis, grow and multiply. And yet our work has shown that many types of plants fall into a hibernation. Some of them found a way to eat without photosynthesis. They developed a mechanism that allowed them to get carbohydrates and other nutrients from soil fungi. We have shown some reasons why hibernation begins, but we still have to explain how other plants, weather and other conditions affect it. “