Provided some moisture is available, and this need only be as much as will condense in dew from a cloud zone, there is scarcely any habitat in the world that is too hostile to support plant life. The variety of adaptation found in green plants has produced species with roots that live and extract nutrition from every possible substrate. With some species the roots may hang in air (figure 6.1) while in others they are to be found buried in every type of soil from pure sand and gravel to peat, or even—as with hydrophytes—totally submerged in water. The ecological enterprise of plants in obtaining their nutrients provides ample evidence of the truth of Spinoza’s maxim (even if a little out of context) that ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’.
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