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Plant Adaptations

Australian plants are champions when it comes to adaptations. They have to be!

Plants can’t get up and run from a fire or move into the shade if it gets too hot (most of the time they ARE in the shade!). They just have to come up with clever tricks (adaptations) that will help them survive the environment they are growing in, PLUS survive all the other weather Australia throws at them, like drought, floods, cyclones and heat waves! Australia’s environments have led to some pretty special plants that exist nowhere else in the world. Because of this, we have decided to hold a Plant Adaptation Awards Night!! The award categories include the Water Saving Award, Fire Proof Award, Sun Catcher Award and the Epic Survivor Award.

The nominations are in, the judges have chosen and it’s time to announce the Plant Adaptation Award Winners!
Let the ceremony begin!

Water Saving Award

Our nominations included some pretty clever physical adaptations to survive in sunny, hot and dry environments like this....

There’s not much water around the dry environment so these plants have to try really hard to hold onto the water they do have.

The nominees in this category display these types of adaptations.

Water Saving Award

Paper Daisies

The award-winning adaptations of a Paper Daisy

Fire Proof Award

Australia has a long history of bushfires in forest and woodland environments like this…

It takes some very impressive adaptations for plants to be able to survive fire.

Let’s check out the adaptations that made the nominations…

Watch this time lapse video to see plants recovering after bushfires in NSW. Video credit: On Demand News 

Fire Proof Award


The award-winning adaptations of a Banksia

Banksias do it all! They are the masters of fire.

Sun Catcher Award

Our nominations include adaptations to help plants survive in wet, places that don’t get much sunlight. We’re talking about rainforest environments like this…

Adaptations in these conditions include:

The Sun-Catcher Award

Fan Palms

The award-winning adaptations of a Fan Palm

Epic Survivor Award

There was only one nomination for this award. No other plant has been able to survive unchanged in its environment as long as this plant has. It seems to have developed the perfect adaptations for its canyon environment because we are talking 200 million years of survival! This plant is so old it has seen dinosaurs! In fact, you could even call it a Pine-osaur!

Epic Survivor Award

The Wollemi Pine

Learn more about this amazing plant here

Activities - Plant adaptations

1. Pretend you are hosting the Plant Adaptations Awards.

You can learn about the adaptations of carnivorous plants here.
With a partner, act out giving an award to a carnivorous plant.
What are they getting the award for? What are their cool adaptations?
What will the carnivorous plant say in its thankyou speech? How might it act?

2. Plant hunt

Can you find any water saving plants, sun catching plants or fire proof plants at your school?  What type did you have the most of? Why do you think that might be?

Click here to download the 'Plant Adaptations Hunt' worksheet

3. Model plants after a bushfire

Using playdough or clay and natural materials, model what happens after a bushfire. What do the fireproof plants do to recover?