In plant terminology
, a stress-tolerant
is a plant which has adapted to tolerate extreme stresses in an ecosystem
, as opposed to taking advantage of more fertile areas. These plants are charactarized by long life, slow growth, slow reproduction, and extreme hardiness to drought
, cold, heat, fire
, and other environmental factors. These plants generally exist in harsh areas such as desert
s and mountaintops
, or exist as long-lived plants in other environments. They reproduce slowly, but are so hardy and long-lived that they can colonize and thrive in areas which other plants can not. Due to the harsh conditions they live in, they can not afford to grow fast or waste energy on millions of seed
In fertile, ideal conditions, these plants usually are outcompeted by ruderals or competitives. However, in the case of disturbances such as droughts or fires they can outsurvive these plants. Stress-Tolerants are usually woody plants such as trees, or slow-growing desert plants such as cacti. Often they become extremely picturesque and gnarled in their old age.
Examples of Stress-Tolerant strategists are bristlecone pine, giant saguaro, valley oak, and sagebrush. The other types of 'strategy' used by plants are ruderal and competitive.