Life forms

Plants can be divided into several life forms according to the position of resting buds that allow them to survive unfavorable environmental conditions (winter, dry season, etc.).

Raunkier life forms
Raunkiær plant life-form. Upper pane — schematic plant habit during vegetation season. Lower pane — position of resting buds during unfavorable season.


Therophytes (annuals) — annual plants which complete their life-cycle rapidly under favorable conditions and survive the unfavorable cold or dry season in the form of seed.

Cryptophytes — perennial plants with resting buds lying either beneath the surface of the ground as a rhizome, bulb, corm, etc., or a resting bud submerged under water or in marsh. Specifically, Geophytes (resting buds under the soil surface) are one of the most prominent plant life-forms within the GCFR.

Hemicryptophytes — perennial plants with resting buds at or near the soil surface. Typically plants with ground rosettes or grasses.

Chamaephytes — perennial plants with resting buds on persistent shoots near the ground – usually woody plants (shrublets) with buds borne close to the ground, no more than 25 cm above the soil surface.

Phanerophytes — woody perennials with resting buds more than 25 cm above soil level, e.g. trees or shrubs.

Epiphytes — plants unconnected to ground thus with resting bud position irrelevant; usually growing on phanerophytes.

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