Succulence: Sponge It Up!

Some alpine tundra plants have leaves and stems that can soak up water when it is available. The plants can then use the water when things dry out. The ability to store water in spongy leaves and stems is called succulence.

As you might guess, succulent plant leaves look thick and swollen when they are full of water. As the plant uses the stored water its leaves get thinner and flatter! Look for succulent plants on the tundra- can you tell if they are full or empty?

The plump leaves of this Queens Crown have stored lots of snowmelt water.


Look at how plump the leaves of this Yellow Stonecrop are- they must be full of stored water! The yellow tips are flower buds about to bloom. When they do, get ready for the fireworks! (Click here to see.)

Next:Tap Roots!