Plant Adaptations for Living on Land

Plants were pioneers—the first organisms to colonize dry land.

Adapting for life on land required several key modifications.

Typical Gymnosperm Cones

Typical Gymnosperm Cones

Economic Importance Gymnosperms

Pine tree

Gymnosperms are seed plants with a protected cone or other body for their seed embryos, such as conifers (evergreen trees), seed ferns, and cycads.

Pine tree

Gymnosperms are seed plants with a protected cone or other body for their seed embryos, such as conifers (evergreen trees), seed ferns, and cycads.

Plants originated in the nourishing environment of the water. Life on land required plants to develop a way to reduce water loss and the drying effects of desiccation. This protection came in the form of a waxy outer covering called a cuticle. The cuticle is a thin, impermeable covering that grows on the outside surface of the exposed parts of a plant. In addition to slowing water loss, the cuticle may sometimes protect a plant from the harmful effects of ultraviolet solar radiation—a danger that was more acute for the first land organisms than it is for today's because in the Early Paleozoic Era, Earth's atmosphere was still developing its protective ozone shield.

Typical Angiosperm

Plant body

Land Adaptations Plant

Vertical section through flower Stamen

Prehistoric Plants

Angiosperms, the flowering plants, utilize flowers to attract pollinators, and some encase their seeds in fruits to aid in their dispersal.

Plants need to breathe; this, too, posed a challenge for the first inhabitants of the land. Now that they no longer were immersed in water, plants on land needed to develop a new physiological technique: a way to grab carbon dioxide molecules from the air. Plants evolved a network of tiny pores on their outer surfaces for this purpose. Called stomata, these pores enable an exchange of gases between the plant and the outside air, making photosynthesis possible.

Plants living in the water are held up or suspended by the buoyancy of the marine environment. On land, larger plants must lift themselves from the ground so that they do not collapse under their own weight. This is accomplished by a skeletonlike structure of stems, branches, and trunks that gives strength and shape to land plants. Early land plants evolved such structures and, as a result, expanded their habitable environment in a vertical direction. This dramatically—and literally—increased the range of terrestrial plants over and above the flat surface of the ground, making possible taller plants including trees.

The vascular systems of land plants were another key evolutionary innovation that enabled such plants to thrive. These systems improved the plants' ability to conduct water and nourishing minerals to different parts of their structures. Roots evolved as a specialized means to absorb water. These increasingly effective methods of providing food and energy led to the growth and diversity of all kinds of plants.

One final challenge for plants living on land was to find a means to reproduce effectively. In the marine environment, plants passed sperm to egg through the medium of water. Plants in a terrestrial habitat evolved many different solutions to the challenge of achieving the union of sperm and egg. Most of these solutions depend on reproductive cells called spores. Spores can be blown through the air, transported by available surface water, and transported by pollinating insects to make plant reproduction possible.

Many of these plant adaptations were mirrored by the evolution of invertebrate and vertebrate animals for life on the land. Plants

Photosynthesis

Water + light = chemical energy

Light energy

Sugar leaves leaf

Sugar leaves leaf

Plant Adaptations Marine
Chemical energy + carbon dioxide = sugar

© Infobase Publishing

Plants nourish themselves through photosynthesis. Using a network of tiny pores, or stomata, on their outer surface enables plants to exchange gases with the outside air, allowing them to breathe.

share with some animal groups the internalization of vital body systems such as sexual organs, the development of a protective outer skin, and functions such as gas exchange.

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Responses

  • Nibs
    How water in plants body?
    7 years ago
  • chiara
    What are the dangers of adaptation of plants on land?
    1 year ago
  • Mark Renfrow
    What is the adaptation of plants to life on land from evolution?
    1 year ago
  • cailyn
    What structural adaptations enable plants to live on land?
    1 year ago
  • eligio
    How do angiosperm adapt themselves on the land?
    1 year ago
  • andreas
    How do angiosperms adapt to living on land?
    1 year ago
  • Venla
    How angiosperms are adapted to life on land?
    1 year ago
  • ANNA
    How do angiosperms adapt themselves on life on the land?
    1 year ago
  • Emilia
    What is the adaptation strategies of seeds plants that can survive on land?
    1 year ago
  • MIIKA
    What are the gaseous exchange that allow taller plants to survive on land?
    1 year ago
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    What are the various adaptation strategies of seed plant to survive on land?
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  • tauno mikkola
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    1 year ago
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    How plant adept to land environment dpl?
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  • Bernd
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  • Annette
    How angiosperms are adapted to living on land?
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  • daisy
    How gymnosperms survive on land?
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  • mandy
    How are Gymnosperms adapted to their terrestrial life?
    1 year ago
  • Kenneth
    What characteristics help angiosperms adapt to life on land?
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  • Conrad
    What makes gymnosperms adaptive to terrestrial life.?
    1 year ago
  • conlan
    What are some adaptations that allow plants to survive on land?
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  • gianni
    How are the gymnosperms adapted to terresterial life?
    1 year ago
  • benedetta lucciano
    Which were the first terrestrial plants what adaptations do they have to survive on land?
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  • lauren
    How adaptation of plant life on a land?
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  • charli
    What are the adaptive features of gymnosperms?
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  • xavier
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  • Hanna-Mari
    What are the adaptation of gymnosperms to terrestrial life?
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  • Fatima
    How is a leaf of a gymnosperms adapted to terrestrial life?
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  • dean
    What characteristics which make gymnosperms adapt to terrestrial life?
    12 months ago
  • valdemar
    What are the importance of adaptation to live in land?
    12 months ago
  • Anselma
    How seeds improve adaptation in plant on land?
    12 months ago
  • mimosa gawkroger
    What is the evolutionary significance of pteridopyta to live on land?
    12 months ago
  • mimosa
    How angiosperms are adapted to terrestrial life?
    11 months ago
  • tancredi
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    11 months ago
  • Fernando
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    11 months ago
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    How angiosperm are structural adapted to terrestrial life?
    11 months ago
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  • liya
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    11 months ago
  • Yerusalem
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    11 months ago
  • marybeth huffman
    What makes Pinus plants survive a terrestrial mode of life?
    11 months ago
  • Italo Milano
    Why are angiosperms suited to life on land?
    10 months ago
  • Antje
    How are Angiosperms for a Terrestrial mode of life?
    10 months ago
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  • Riitta
    What is angiosperm adaptation to the terriestial environment?
    10 months ago
  • Aira
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    10 months ago
  • germano rizzo
    How pine are more suited to life on land than fern?
    10 months ago
  • semret
    How are seeds structurally adapted to life on land?
    10 months ago
  • GINEVRA NAPOLITANO
    What makes the gymnosperms to survive in terresterial life?
    8 months ago
  • tobias
    HOW PLANTS ARE ADAPTED TO SURVIVE ON LAND?
    8 months ago
  • alida trevisano
    What adaptations have allowed land plants to survive on land?
    8 months ago
  • bruto
    What are the adaptive feature of spermatophyte to life on land?
    7 months ago
  • miranda tunnelly
    What are the adaptation of seed plant to terrestial habitats?
    6 months ago
  • christin
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    5 months ago
  • PRIMULA
    What feature enabled plants adapt to terresterial environment?
    5 months ago
  • Leigh
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    5 months ago
  • sky
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    4 months ago
  • aziz
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    3 months ago
  • frodo
    How are gymnosperms adapted to survive?
    3 months ago
  • Adonay Eyob
    How do flowers enable angiosperms to survive on land?
    2 months ago
  • Nicola
    How were cycads adapted to the environment?
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    How have prehestoric plants adapted?
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  • cerdic
    What are some adaptions that allow plants to live on land?
    2 months ago
  • Cosimo
    Why fern can live on land?
    2 months ago
  • Chica Bunce
    Why are flowering plant are adapted to live on land?
    1 month ago
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    How plants adapt to land environment?
    25 days ago
  • Romolo
    Which is an adaptation of plants to living on land:?
    15 days ago
  • Cesio
    What plants enable themselves to survive?
    9 days ago

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