Perennial Plants: Roots of Immortality
A perennial plant or simply perennial is a plant that lives more than two years. The term is often used to
differentiate a plant from shorter-lived annuals (one year) and biennials (two years). The term is also widely used
to distinguish plants with little or no woody growth from trees and shrubs, which are also technically
Perennials — especially small flowering plants — that grow and bloom over the spring and summer, die back
every autumn and winter, and then return in the spring from their rootstock, are known as herbaceous
Annual plants show a rapid growth of flowers, and then seeds, is the strategy most annuals use to
propagate from one generation to the next and one growing season to the next. Annuals experience "rapid
growth following germination and rapid transition to flower and seed formation, thus preventing the loss of
energy needed to create permanent structures
They germinate quickly after the winter so that they come out before other plants, thus eliminating the need
to compete for food and light," according to the statement. The trick is basically to make as many seeds
as possible in as short a time as possible.
An annual uses up all of its non-specialized cells making flowers, and thus, after dropping seeds, it dies.
The growth of the flowers is triggered by the plant sensing the length of day and amount of sunlight. When
the light is just right, "blooming-induction genes" are triggered.
Perennials instead build "structures" such as overwintering buds, bulbs or tubers, that contain cells that are
not yet specialized and, when the next growing season begins, can be converted into stalks and leaves .
The condition for a long life in a perennial plant is to protect the roots (or at least, the capability to
regenerate roots quickly. Roots are essential for nutrient and water uptake, hormone production, shoot
growth and reproduction, and many other functions. Most importantly, they bear the central core of the plant
and the basis for plant growth and development from germination to senescence: the root meristems. In a
simplistic (reduced) view of the biology of a plant, the root and shoot apical meristems, together with the
vascular tissues, form the essential core of life.
A perennial plant cannot be considered dead until all of its
above ground or underground meristems have died. For instance, a tree will still be alive if just one of the
apical shoot meristems and one of the root meristems are alive and if they are connected by a functional
vascular system. Therefore, during plant development, all tissues will play an altruistic role to serve the
meristems (the kings in the chess metaphor), which in turn, will form as many chess boards (growth
modules) as possible, with their own respective kings (meristems) and functional pieces (vascular tissues,
leaves, flowers, etc.).
Wisconsin Bee Identification Guide
Spring Wild Bees of Wisconsin
Bumble Bees of Wisconsin
Wild Native Bee Nest Boxes