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Superpowers Around the World

Plants have adapted to different types of environments all around the world.

Explore some other environments below with their own unique combination of biotic and abiotic factors. If you were a plant, what superpowers would you need to survive and thrive in these places?


You live in a world where everything flows in, but nothing gets out. This wetland accumulates water and rotting matter (called peat), creating an acidic environment. The soil has poor drainage and little nutrients. However, there are plenty of juicy insects buzzing and creeping around...
Hint: you can find some awesome superpowers in our Carnivorous Plant Adaptations page here.


Bushlands are woody, but not as dense or wet as the rainforest. There isn’t much rain or water for many of you to grow tall here, except well-adapted Eucalypts. The soil is low in nutrients, and hungry herbivores such as the koala and kangaroo are out to eat you. Plus, your home often catches fire in the summer!


The name says it all: if you want to survive here, you’d better be a grass! The challenges you face here include temperature extremes, wildfires in the summer, and heavy grazing by herbivores which live in large herds. Without trees and shrubs for cover, you are subject to the fury of strong winds and violent thunderstorms!


You live in an ever-changing world of halves: half the time, waves crash onto you and flood your roots. Then they draw back, leaving you exposed to sun and air. There is constant mixing of fresh and saltwater, but no soil to sink yourself into... only the suffocating mud. Sometimes, strong tropical storms assault your home, threatening to blow everything away. 


For marine plants life is tough. Strong currents push and pull in every direction. As you go deeper sunlight reduces, but the water pressure increases and squeezes you. Seawater has more dissolved salts, minerals and ions than freshwater. Too much salt will make you dehydrated, poison your internal systems, and corrode your leaf surfaces.


A lot happens above and below the calm surface of your stagnant home. Sunlight and most of its warmth reaches only the shallower layers. The murky depths are dark and may have low oxygen levels. Luckily for you, nutrients and minerals are floating all throughout the water, and not just locked in the pond bed.


The subarctic coniferous forests of the Northern Hemisphere are a winter wonderland, with fog and snow smothering you. Summers are short, warm and have a little rain. There is not much sunlight during the year for you to grow (which requires a lot of energy). The soil is poor in nutrients and will freeze in winter, making it hard for you to develop roots or absorb water.


Your world in the Arctic circle, on high mountains (alpine), or in Antarctica is a frozen desert. Instead of being too hot, it is always cold. Yet it is just as dry, because water is locked away as ice. Permafrost covers the ground, leaving little exposed soil for you. The winds are harsh and add to the chill, and dark winters are freezing. Summer sunlight here brings little warmth.

Future Worlds

The general air temperature around the world is expected to rise. Extreme weather events such as drought, floods, and snowstorms will become more intense. Winters will become warmer, while waters will become more acidic. There may be less wildlife around to pollinate your flowers and spread your seeds, but pest insects are expected to multiply more rapidly as it gets warmer.

Activities - Superpowers Around the World

1. Mapping exercise

Mark and colour which of these different environments can be found on a map of Australia. Can you locate them on a map of the world?

2. Creative writing

Choose a plant superpower (adaptation) and write a story or a speech about how it helps you survive and thrive in your particular environment. Write it in the first person, and share it with a friend or the class. You could make up a funny version with your own special superpower adaptation.

3. Puppet making

Make puppets of Sally the Sunflower, Cate the Cactus and Birra the Big Fig! Choose one of the environments above and write a story with these characters and any others you have created. Create the stage set for the environment you have chosen. Perform your puppet show!

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