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Volume 15- Some plants in Nunavut

Arctic plant life has adapted remarkably to a very short growing season.  You've heard of how rapid plants

flower in the desert after a rain.  Up in the high arctic, there is about a six week growing season.   The ice and

snow finally melt out in July and snow starts in September again. The temperature may briefly hit 20 C (68F)

before rapidly sliding back down.  More than 200 species of flowering plants put on a colorful, but quick show

in that short time.

 

 

The visitors' Center had this poster on the wall, showing some of the most common plants around Cambridge Bay. 

By the time we had gotten there at the end of August, there already had been a frost so the flowering season

was over.  But we did get to see some interesting plants.

 

 

Plants stay very close to the ground, to protect themselves from the severe weather.

I'm not sure of the plant species here, but it is comfortable in its microclimate here

with moss and lichen.

 

 

The arctic willow is a common tundra plant.

 

 

Cotton grass or arctic cotton.  In generations gone by, this was used by the Inuit as

stuffing for diapers.

 

Arctic mushroom.  Decomposition of organic materials is very slow in the Arctic.

That is why artifacts from missing explorers and even the explorers themselves

can be found nearly intact after many years. 

 

 

Also Arctic willow.  The arctic willow is food source for  caribou, musk oxen and arctic hares in

summer and during the long winter.  Fortunately for the animals which must subsist on a diet like

this, snow cover is thin in winter and not too much effort is needed to reach the vegetation

 

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