Plants of the Arctic

Botanists like Swales and her colleagues overseas would immerse themselves in their fieldwork during the short Arctic summer period. In recalling her trips to the Arctic during the quiet summer months in between semesters, Swales remembered how “The whole world of plants adapted to high winds, short seasons, biting snow spicules and intense winter cold spread out before me in all their brilliant colours." Swales was fascinated with these flowers and their pollinators, observing their relationship over the course of the short Arctic summers.

Arctic plants tend to be smaller, growing closer to the ground as a defense against desiccation from the harsh winds. Many plants in the Arctic have adapted through rooting strategies where the roots spread close to the surface, seeking out the warmest parts of the soil or partnering with symbiotrophic fungi which, in return for carbon, can aid plants in reaching nutrients from newly thawed permafrost Flowering plants such as Avens are known to track the movement of the sun, creating a welcoming warm enclosure for pollinators.