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How are Plants Adapted to Suit Their Environment?

In this worksheet, students will learn how green plants are adapted to suit their environment and how these adaptations can result in evolution of the species over long periods of time.

'How are Plants Adapted to Suit Their Environment?' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Evolution and Inheritance

Curriculum subtopic:  Adaptation

Difficulty level:  

down

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Green plants absorb light energy from the sun, and absorb water from the soil, to make their own food. This process is called photosynthesis (get used to the name, you will hear it a lot in the future!). Different types of plant are adapted to maximise the amount of light and water they absorb. They are also adapted to the temperature of the environment they live in.

Some plants like the cactus are adapted to living in hot, dry deserts.

 

 

Some plants, like these reeds, are adapted to living in ponds and small waterways.

Over long periods of time, adaptations which are very successful and help individual plants to thrive become common in almost all plants of that particular species. This process is known as evolution.

Some trees have evolved to live in hot, wet places, creating rain forests. Other trees grow in climates which change across the year, from cold winters to hot summers.

 

Which three of these environmental factors do green plants have to adapt to in sandy deserts?

Tick three.

 

cold temperatures

low light levels

low rainfall

hot temperatures

Choose three adaptations from the list we would see in hot desert plants such as a cactus.

 

deep roots

wide leaves

thin, spiny leaves

thick, fleshy stem

grow in the shade

Anthony is learning about green plants, such as these reeds, which have adapted to life in ponds, lakes and rivers.

 

He knows that plants need light, but needs help with this question: 'Can light travel through water?'

Help Anthony choose the correct answer.

no

yes

Some trees such as the giant redwood can grow to be over 50 metres tall.

 

 

Trees like the redwood have grown taller and taller over time. This is an example of a successful adaptation leading to evolution of the whole species.

Why are tall redwood trees more successful than smaller ones?

They can get more light and so make more food.

They provide a safer habitat for birds to nest. When these birds are flying they spread seeds from these taller trees rather than smaller ones.

Anthony is a scientist studying pondweeds. He notices that pondweeds have several adaptations which have enabled them to thrive in ponds and wetlands.

 

 

Can you identify two adaptations of pondweed from the list below?

They have floating leaves.

They have small leaves.

They have thick, woody stems.

They have waterproof leaves.

Anthony decides to study seaweed.

 

 

Seaweeds are not technically green plants, they are a complex form of algae. However, some green plants and seaweeds share similar adaptations which have helped them to evolve.

Which successful adaptation of some green plants is also shared by seaweeds like the one in the picture?

deep roots

large, flat leaves

salt tolerance

The rose is a very common plant.

Many rose bushes contain thorns which are sharp and can cause nasty injuries if you scratch yourself on one.

The thorn is an adaptation which has helped the plant to survive since prehistoric times.

Why did the rose evolve to have thorns?

They help prevent animals from eating them.

They store water in them and help the plant to survive in drought.

Complete this sentence.

Some plants thrive in very harsh environments because they are very well adapted to them. Over time useful adaptations allow a species to __________.

develop

evolve

  • Question 1

Which three of these environmental factors do green plants have to adapt to in sandy deserts?

Tick three.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
cold temperatures
low rainfall
hot temperatures
EDDIE SAYS
In hot, dry deserts, organisms have to adapt to low night-time temperatures, because heat is lost quickly from the land after the sun has set.
  • Question 2

Choose three adaptations from the list we would see in hot desert plants such as a cactus.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
deep roots
thin, spiny leaves
thick, fleshy stem
EDDIE SAYS
Cacti grow deep roots to collect water which is stored in their thick fleshy stems. Green plants lose water through their leaves, so cacti leaves are thin and spiny to reduce the water which could be lost.
  • Question 3

Anthony is learning about green plants, such as these reeds, which have adapted to life in ponds, lakes and rivers.

 

He knows that plants need light, but needs help with this question: 'Can light travel through water?'

Help Anthony choose the correct answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
yes
EDDIE SAYS
Light can travel through water because water is a clear substance and not opaque. However, the amount of light that passes through depends on the condition of the water. For example, if the water is muddy, less light will be able to pass through and the water will be dark and murky.
Some plants like moss are adapted to live in dark water. These plants are very common in ponds and rivers found in tropical rainforest.
  • Question 4

Some trees such as the giant redwood can grow to be over 50 metres tall.

 

 

Trees like the redwood have grown taller and taller over time. This is an example of a successful adaptation leading to evolution of the whole species.

Why are tall redwood trees more successful than smaller ones?

CORRECT ANSWER
They can get more light and so make more food.
EDDIE SAYS
It's quite simple really. Trees need lots of light so that they can make their own food by photosynthesis. The greater the amount of light a tree can absorb, the greater the amount of photosynthesis it can carry out and the taller and stronger it will grow.
Tall, strong and healthy plants are more likely to survive over long periods of time than smaller, weaker ones. As a result trees like the redwood have been getting taller.
  • Question 5

Anthony is a scientist studying pondweeds. He notices that pondweeds have several adaptations which have enabled them to thrive in ponds and wetlands.

 

 

Can you identify two adaptations of pondweed from the list below?

CORRECT ANSWER
They have floating leaves.
They have waterproof leaves.
EDDIE SAYS
The leaves of a pondweed float on the surface of the water because they contain many air pockets. This helps plants like pondweed to remain on the surface of the water even when the water level in the pond is rising or falling.
Compared to the rest of the plant, the leaves of the pondweed are really quite big; this helps them to absorb as much light energy as possible. The leaves are also waterproof; this prevents too much water getting inside the plant, which is quite dangerous for plants like pondweed.
Pondweeds are almost entirely supported by the water around them so they do not need thick, woody stems. If you removed some pondweed from water and held it in your hand it would hang limply.
  • Question 6

Anthony decides to study seaweed.

 

 

Seaweeds are not technically green plants, they are a complex form of algae. However, some green plants and seaweeds share similar adaptations which have helped them to evolve.

Which successful adaptation of some green plants is also shared by seaweeds like the one in the picture?

CORRECT ANSWER
large, flat leaves
EDDIE SAYS
Many seaweeds and green plants have large, flat leaves which allow them to absorb as much light energy as possible.
  • Question 7

The rose is a very common plant.

Many rose bushes contain thorns which are sharp and can cause nasty injuries if you scratch yourself on one.

The thorn is an adaptation which has helped the plant to survive since prehistoric times.

Why did the rose evolve to have thorns?

CORRECT ANSWER
They help prevent animals from eating them.
EDDIE SAYS
It's very simple folks, animals like rabbits and field mice do not tend to eat rose bushes because they can get a nasty injury when they try to.
This adaptation means a thorny rose bush is more likely to survive and reproduce. The bushes without thorns get eaten and are less likely to successfully reproduce.
  • Question 8

Complete this sentence.

Some plants thrive in very harsh environments because they are very well adapted to them. Over time useful adaptations allow a species to __________.

CORRECT ANSWER
evolve
EDDIE SAYS
Adaptations which allow a species to survive and reproduce are passed on to future generations. This is called evolution.
---- OR ----

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