Teaching overview

Learning points

  • Adaptations are features that allow living things to survive in a particular environment.
  • Plants that grow in very cold weather often grow close to the ground, helping them to avoid freezing winds and blasts of snow.
  • Carrion flowers have adapted to smell like rotting meat – this attracts pollinating insects that normally feed on dead animals.

Curriculum keywords

  • Plants
  • Adaptations
  • Habitats

5 things you didn't know

What are adaptions?

1. Adaptations are special features that help a living thing survive in its environment. Adaptations explain why certain plants are able to flourish in one area, but would struggle to survive in another.

The stench of death

2. Carrion flowers have adapted to smell like rotting meat. Yuck! There’s a good reason for this, though – it attracts insects that usually feed on decaying flesh, and these insects then help to pollinate the flower.

Waiting for the right time

3. Some plants have adapted to only release their seeds at certain times or specific conditions, so that they have a better chance of survival. Eucalyptus trees only release seeds after a fire, as there will be less competition from other plants.

A plant's guide to keeping warm

4. Plants that have adapted to cold weather conditions often grow close to the ground so that they avoid the snow and freezing wind. They’re also often covered with tiny hairs, which provide a layer of insulation and protect against the extreme cold.

Finding sun in the rainforest

5. In the rainforest, there’s a lot of competition for sunlight! The taller trees manage to get most of it, but lianas are vines that can climb towards the light using sturdy trees as their support.

Spark a discussion

  • Why is it useful for plants to have adaptations?
  • How do some plants manage to survive in bitterly cold and windy environments?
  • Why do some flowers smell strongly of rotting meat?

Explore our resources

Complete your lesson with teaching resources on defensive plants from Tigtag.

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