tropical climate upsc

Consider the following adaptations in the vegetation:

  1. Deep roots.
  2. Large dark green leaves.
  3. Thick Bark.
  4. Waxy cuticle.

Which of the following are the adaptations of vegetation in the tropical climates? Choose the correct answer:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 4 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 


Vegetation of a region represents the sum total of the climatic condition, the below illustration shows the adaptability of the vegetation to the prevailing climatic condition.

Adaptations to tropical climates:

  • Large dark-green leaves (= lots of chlorophyll) to absorb sun light, especially in understory with lots of shade.
  • Leaf arrangement maximizes light capture.
  • Slick waxy cuticle to allow rain to run off
  • Shallow roots (no need to go deep for nitrogen or water) and buttress or stilt roots (to help with stability).
  • Continuous growth (no year-rings in trees); trees can reach enormous heights.

Adaptations to desert climates:

  • Small leaves or no leaves at all to minimize water loss
  • Photosynthesis instead often in trunk
  • Leaves are frequently modified to spines which aid in defense but also can reflect excess light.
  • Highly reflective cuticle to reflect excess light.
  • Succulence – storing of water in specialized tissues (fleshy leaves, trunks, underground etc.) also extensive and deep root system.

Adaptations to temperate climates:

  • annual life cycle
  • deciduousness when perennial
  • If not deciduous then leaves are needles protected by thick cuticles to survive winter.
  • thick bark to protect against cold winters.

Hence, Option (b)- Only 2 and 4 are the correct options.

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