Plants of Antarctica
 
Few plants can tolerate the extreme cold, arid conditions of Antarctica. Some survive the frigid climate by colonizing in light-colored, semi-translucent rock These microscopic plants live just under the surface of the rocks where they are protected from drying out, extremely cold temperatures, and too much light. In the Dry Valley, some plants are dried out and inactive most of the time, but begin to grow for that short period of time when the water flows. The Antarctic Peninsula has a more maritime climate, getting both rain and snow. Plant life is a little more commonplace there. Below are pictures of the plants found in Antarctica along with some interesting facts. 
 
Moss
Moss - on the better drained, stony slopes of the Antarctic Peninsula, mosses build up to a deep peat - as much as six and one half feet deep and 5,000 years old!
 
Lichen
Lichen - more than 350 species of lichens are known. They have proliferated in Antarctica because there is little competition from mosses or flowering plants which lack the high tolerance of draught and cold seen in the lichens.
 
Hairy Grass
Grass - also found on the Antarctic Peninsula. There are two species0 of flowering plants that grow on the peninsula - Antarctic hair grass and the Antarctic Pearlwort (on the right). They are the only two flowering plants, which grow south of 60° latitude.
 
For more information regarding plants found in Antarctica, try reading the following books:
The Antarctic by Pat Hargreaves
The Polar Seas by Malcolm Penny
Greenpeace Book of Antarctica by John May
 

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