Below Are Some Grassland Plants Facts That You Didn't Know Existed | Kidadl


Below Are Some Grassland Plants Facts That You Didn't Know Existed

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Grasslands take up a large part of the terrestrial land area on Earth.

As the name suggests, these are vast areas of pure grass with a few trees and shrubs as possible. Trees in the grassland biome are spaced out very far from each other and do not provide much cover to the animals living in these grasslands.

Mostly small or well-camouflaged animals are best suited to this type of ecosystem.

The grasslands biome tends to form only in those regions where weather conditions support the growth of grass but not that of trees or any kinds of shrubs. If grasslands are located near villages or other human settlements, there's a chance they would become grazing fields for cattle living in those settlements, also.

It is believed that grasslands are not inherently natural. This means that some scientific evidence and historical traces suggest there have always been reasons for the formation of grasslands.

The most popular reason believed to be true is the instance of forest fires. When such fires take place, many of the trees and shrubs are devoured and all that is left are ashes and grasses. Apart from this, overgrazing by herbivore animals who prefer eating leaves from trees and shrubs can also lead to the forming of grasslands, by stripping natural resources.

These herbivores then move to new places as the tree cover diminishes in certain areas. Some grasslands, however, may be considered natural if the weather conditions are such that only grass is able to cover the lands and it was not a result of the skills of any farmer.

Interestingly, nomads are known to set up their tents and live on grasslands. These nomads travel from one grassland to another as the weather and temperature change. It is mostly observed that they reside in mountain grasslands, otherwise known as montane grasslands, during summer months and then they travel to plains in winter.

There are also regions where grasslands and forests are located side by side. However, these are difficult to locate, mostly because of the constant cutting of trees from these forests and the overgrazing of grasslands by cattle.

So what sets apart deserts from temperate grassland? What does a semi-natural grasslands biome look like? How much rain falls in grasslands?

Read on for answers to all your questions related to grasslands and different types of grasses.

What are grassland plants?

Where do grasslands grow? Read on to find out more interesting facts about grasslands.

The plants that grow in grasslands vary depending on the climatic conditions and the type of grassland. There are two known types: temperate grasslands and tropical grasslands. The prairies in North America are an example of temperate grasslands.

Tropical regions are mostly hot, so examples of these can include the savannas of Africa. Although these savannas are covered with grass, the length of these grasses depends majorly on the kind and amount of rain that these lands receive annually. They might be as small as 1 ft (0.3 m) or as large as 7 ft (2.1 m).

Since the fields of the North American prairie are fertile and receive enough rainfall, nearby villagers have started converting these wonderful grasslands into areas to grow crops.

This makes life difficult for animals like zebras, giraffes, gazelles, and wildebeests that sustain themselves on these grasslands.

On temperate grasslands, you may be able to see prairie dogs, badgers, and coyotes. Both temperate grasslands, as well as tropical grasslands, are home to numerous birds.

Among the species of grasses that are found in tropical grasslands are the Rhodes grass, purple-needle grass, and the galette. During the rainy season, the grassland gets covered with lovely, colorful flowers such as yarrow, milkweed, and hyssop.

The flowers that bloom from the yarrow are beautiful but very delicate. Strong winds tend to blow them away. It is a great nectar plant and springtime sees the coming of several varieties of bees and colorful butterflies in the regions surrounding the yarrow flowers.

There are only a few species of plants that survive the conditions of the most extreme grassland regions. They stand steady in the face of droughts, excess rain, as well as grazing.

Apart from these two main types, other grasslands include montane grasslands, desert grasslands, and flooded grasslands.

Flooded grasslands are present where there is water all year round. Most of the vegetation here grows in the water itself. There are various migrating water birds that come here, attracted by the water. Along with these, there are types of fish and reptiles also residing here. Montane grasslands are those that form on top of mountainous regions. In the montane region, leaves and grasses have a waxy coating.

These grasslands can be natural or semi-natural. Desert grasslands act as a mediator between montane grasslands and deserts on flat land, such as savannas. Plant species present here are similar to desert plants as these areas do not receive much rainfall.

Grassland birds and plant species vary depending on the type of grasslands. Scattered trees provide little protection to plant species and grassland animals.

The Eurasian steppe is among the largest grasslands in the world. Apart from this, the largest grasslands also include most of those present in the African savannas. Tree growth here is sparse as the climate is very hot. Most grasslands in African savannas have short grasses in these forests.

Grassland plants learn to survive and spread over the years depending on the soil and weather conditions prevalent in those regions.

The Grassland Biome

Looking for some extremely important details related to the Grassland biome? Then here are some essential aspects for your perusal:

The open space of the grassland biome is covered with both tall and short types of grass. There are large animals like elephants and smaller animals like prairie dogs present in most African savannas. Prairie dogs can hide well behind available grass and they camouflage with their surroundings.

The entire grassland biome is self-protecting. Elephants and other large animals help to put out forest fires by stamping on them, and natural and semi-natural grasses grow back after forest fires come to an end.

Grassland biomes are also present in the northern hemisphere and southern hemispheres. The grassland biome of the southern hemisphere tends to get greater rainfall, and therefore has grasses that are much taller than those found in the grassland areas of the northern hemisphere.

Grassland biomes in South America are commonly referred to as pampas while the biomes of North America are prairies.

Pampas areas are fertile regions of vast land. Slightly towards the southern hemisphere, near South America, pampas are divided into smaller plains, spread across different borders of states.

North American grassland biomes are more widely known and have greater numbers of animal species living here. The North American biome is divided into two parts, the Great Plains being the larger one.  The Great Plains are rocky in structure and blanketed with prairie.

Grassland animals and plant species in temperate grasslands, like the ones present in North America, receive abundant rainfall and the soil there is also fertile.

Grassland predators, like wolves, lions, and hyenas, are the rulers of these lands, while prey animals, like prairie dogs, hide among the grasses to save themselves from these predators.

The grassland regions of northern Australia are referred to as the Downs. The grassland region of northern Australia is devoid of trees.

The grassland areas are drier and have little to no rainfall. Along with Rhode and purple needlegrass, buffalo grass is also sighted here.

After the rainforests, one of the most famous grasslands in the world is probably the savanna. In fact, the savanna is spread along on around 20% of the total land area of the Earth. The kind of animals that inhabit the region depends on the geographical location of the savanna. The African savannah is one of the most well-known savanna regions of the world is home to an extensive range of animals. Some of the animals that are native to the African savannah are lions, leopards, zebras, elephants, wildebeest, hyenas, and several others.

Did you know Central Eurasian grasslands are referred to as steppes, while African grasslands are savannas!

Grassland Temperatures

Looking for some interesting facts related to the climate along with these biomes? Here are some extremely essential facts related to grassland temperatures that will certainly intrigue you.

Trees are the moderators of temperature but since they are sparse in grassland regions, the temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the day and night. It has been found that the average temperature recorded in most grasslands is -4 F to 86 F (-20 to 30 C).

Temperatures change depending on the amount of rainfall received by this biome and the season. Due to their location, tropical grasslands are comfortable, with changes present in the wet as well as the dry seasons, with the climate being warm.

Temperate areas on the other hand have winters and summers. The temperature during winter is very cold while the summers are warm. Savannas are especially hot, with high temperatures reaching around 100 F (37.8 C)

For humans to survive in these grasslands, there is a necessity of knowing how to make their own shelters. This is mostly because there aren’t any natural shelters present here.

Learning how to cook and purify water is another skill needed for survival. Wild predators of this region, as well as insects, are dangerous and not comfortable among humans, so it is best to steer clear of them.

These survival facts are important to know when getting to know about a particular biome. Although it can be an adventure, it is best to be fully prepared and not go there alone. There is only so much food and water that you can carry.

If you plan to stay overnight or even a few days, it is better to survey the area you will be sleeping in beforehand and stay vigilant at all times. Natural grasslands are not very safe places for humans.

Although nomads have been living this way for centuries, city folk will find it difficult to survive there. Another point of difference is that nomads tend to move in large groups. It's easier to attack a few people than to attack an entire caravan traveling together.

Always remember to carry your supplies with you- whether you are on track or going to sleep, your supplies may be the only thing that can help you return home safely.

These kits should include ropes, tape, torch, scissors or knives, at least. For shelter, finding a cave might be difficult but it is the best option, otherwise, trees also provide good support for building a shelter. It is best to tie knots properly as the wind is strong enough to blow away the material that is usually used for making a shelter.

The fire should be lit carefully. Temperate grasslands have a tendency to catch fire fast and, once the fire goes out of control, survival becomes a lot more difficult. Careful use of fire is necessary as it helps in cooking food, keeping wild animals away, and staying warm.

It is also important to know the biome you are in, know the plants and animals there, which plants are poisonous and which can be used as medicine in case of injury. How to douse the fire made while cooking is also necessary for survival in these lands.

Natural grasslands and wildlife of North America face threats from illegal hunting, farming, and climate change.

Fun Facts About Grasslands

Enjoying finding out more about grasslands? Then read these fun facts we have compiled about grasslands!

Forests and deserts have multiple species of animals and plants. Animals present here adapt according to the weather conditions of these grasslands. Although forests cover a large area of the Earth’s surface, temperate grasslands like savannas and prairies are not far behind, covering about 40% of the world's land.

Around 10% - 12% of grasslands are protected lands. Most of these areas are left without protection, at the mercy of grazing animals.

Interestingly, all continents and countries have temperate grasslands of various sizes, except for Antarctica, where temperatures do not allow the growth of such plant species.

The human influence on grasslands, especially those without government protection, has led to their degradation.

Savannas have woody plants as they need less water and nutrients. Open grasslands are often viewed as the carbon sinks of Earth.

The varieties of grasslands in North America include mountain types as well as those like the Great Plains. This range ensures that multiple plants and animal species can live on these lands. African savannas have warm weather with little annual rainfall.

The annual rainfall helps enrich the soil of the fertile lands of the northern hemisphere, the prairies. The grassland feature few trees and, instead, have rich forests of tall grasses instead.

The majority of animals live in grasslands with the richest soils as fertile soil enables the growth of buffalo grass, among other types, and provides herbivores with healthy nutrition.

During the cold winter, some animals migrate and move to warmer areas, forests, or connected grasslands. Bird species migrate every year during the cold winters and come back when it is spring.

It is also interesting to know that forest fires are in fact quite a common phenomenon in grasslands everywhere. Plants have specific adaptations to assist them to survive the weather conditions of grassland areas. Grassland birds and animals also are adept in survival skills.

Irrespective of whether the grass is tall or short, it all has long roots to gain access to water. Long roots are also helpful in providing a quick recovery after grassland fires. Soft, bendable structures enable grass to survive the strong winds that blow in these vast lands.

Winds here are strong as there are negligible trees to act as barriers. Since winds are common in these regions, it is the best way for pollination to take place in natural grasslands.

Another way in which pollination takes place is through insects. This, however, takes place only when there is a flowering season and beautiful flowers attract these insects.

The Kidadl Team is made up of people from different walks of life, from different families and backgrounds, each with unique experiences and nuggets of wisdom to share with you. From lino cutting to surfing to children’s mental health, their hobbies and interests range far and wide. They are passionate about turning your everyday moments into memories and bringing you inspiring ideas to have fun with your family.

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