Plants grow in winter on the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Alpine plants growing on the Eastern Tibetan Plateau were thought to senesce or lie dormant during the winter, but after 4 years of field observations, Li et al. show how some species kept growing in this extremely cold and unpredictable environment.

Gentiana spathulifolia

One species, Gentiana spathulifolia (Gentianaceae) even flowers in winter and many others were conspicuous in terms of their allocation to above ground biomass, and contribution to establishment of the summer vegetation. The authors conclude that although often overlooked, these winter growth species are essential in our in understanding of Alpine ecosystem functions like carbon cycling and potentially community responses to climate change.

Further reading

Mo, L., Luo, P., Mou, C., Yang, H., Wang, J., Wang, Z., … Zuo, D. (2018). Winter plant phenology in the alpine meadow on the eastern Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau. Annals of Botany, 122(6), 1033–1045. https://doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcy112