Shelledy Elementary

Plants and Trees

Colorado Life Zones: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 1: Choose One of the Life Zones or Choices Below

Life Zones Menu Bar
Colorado Life Zones General Information Interactive Elevation & Life Zone Diagram Colorado Maps: Life Zones and More Semidesert Shrublands (West CO) Shortgrass Plains Life Zone (East CO) Foothills Woodlands & Shrublands Montane Forests Life Zone Subalpine Life Zone Alpine Life Zone Riparian Life Zones

Subalpine Life Zone: Seasons, Plants, & Animals

Step 2: Choose a Topic from the Subalpine Life Zone & Scroll Down

Subalpine Life Zone General Information
General Information

Subalpine Life Zone Through the Seasons
Through the Seasons

Subalpine Life Zone Extreme Weather
Extreme Weather

Subalpine Life Zone Awesome Adaptations
Awesome Adaptations

 

Subalpine Life Zone Plants and Trees
Plants and Trees

Subalpine Life Zone Mammals
Mammals

Subalpine Life Zone Birds
Birds

Subalpine Life Zone Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles & Amphibians

Plants and Trees of the Subalpine Life Zone

Again the best way to tell if you are in the subalpine is by the plants. Aspen trees from the montane forests disappear and you get in scattered forests of large pine trees. Since summer is so short, the cones from the pine trees provide the animals important seeds to feed on through the year.

The land becomes very rocky and steep with large meadows, mountain streams, cliffs, and peaks. Plants here must survive through very cold long windy snowpacked winters and grow quickly in the short summer.In the summer, the open meadows fill in quickly with grasses and bright beautiful flowers like mountain blue bells, indian paintbrush, Rocky Mountain columbines, and many other flowers.

Subalpine Fir

SW_CO_Plants

Tree Book

Subalpine Fir

Engelmann Spruce

SW CO Plants

Tree Book

BC Adventure

Engelmann Spruce

Bristlecone Pine

Blue Planet Biome

Ancient Bristlecone Pine

CSU

Bristlecone Pine

Limber Pine

BC Adventure

CSU

eNature

Limber Pine

Barrenground Willow

SW CO Plants

Barrenground Willow

Corn Lilly

SW CO Plants

Corn Lillies or Skunk Cabbage

Ferns:
Bracken Fern

Brittlefern

Horsetails

Rock Brake

Bracken Fern

Other Plants

Wild Rasberry
Wild Strawberry
Mountain Alder
Kinnikinnick
Oregon Grape
& More Plants

Subalpine More Plants

Rocky Mountain Columbine

SW CO Plants

Mountain Bluebells

SW CO Plants

Rocky Mountain Columbine

Wild Iris

SW CO Plants

Lupine

Indian Paintbrush

SW CO Plants

Indian Paintbrush

Monument Plant

SW CO Plants

Monument Plant

Larkspur

SW CO Plants

Larkspur

Parry's Primrose

SW CO Plants

Parrys Primrose

More Flowers
Silky Phacelia
Fireweed
Wild Candytuft
Goldeneye
Blueberry
Parrot's Beak
Arnica
Blue Bells

Silky Phacelia

More Flowers
Saxifrage
Jacob's Ladder
Rose Crown
Trifolium
Wild Onion
Delphinium
& More Flowers

Many more kinds of flowers

Different Types of Grasses

Blue Planet Biome

Different types of grasses Lichens and Mosses Lichen
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Awesome Adaptations: Bristlecone Pine

Here in the subalpine, there is quite an amazing tree. The bristlecone pine is one of the longest living trees on the planet. Some may be thousands of years old. They only grow a little bit each year. When the Egyptians were building the pyramids some of these trees just started growing from their seed. The oldest tree, named "Methuselah", is over 4,700 years old. The branches of the tree twist and turn in every direction. Parts of the tree look almost dead and other parts are very alive and full of needles. The bristlecone pine is truly remarkable to live that long in such a harsh life zone.

Sources of information and to find more information :Blue Planet Biome,Ancient Bristlecone Pine,CSU

Bristlecone Pine Bristlecone Pine
Bristlecone Pine Bristlecone Pine

Awesome Adaptations: Krummholz

The upper edge of subalpine is tree line, (above where trees no longer grow). As you get close to the tree line, the different pine trees get shorter and shorter. These dwarf pine trees are called krummholz. They are the same species as the ones lower in the subalpine, only their growth has been slowed by the extreme weather and elevation. See the pictures below for more information.
Tree Line Krummholz
1. The tree line is where the subalpine stops and the alpine begins. It is so cold, windy, snowy, and high up in elevation that most trees can't grow any higher there. 2. Higher than most trees are small pine trees called krummholz. They are the same kinds of trees as lower but they grow only a little each year. They are small, but they can be very old!
Krummholz krummholz
3. If you take a closer look at krummholz trees and trees by the tree line, you may see that one side of the tree is growing well and the other half of the tree seems dead. 4. This will tell you which way most of storms and winds blow. The windy side has little growing on it and the protected side has lots more branches.