North Country explorer from San Francisco, California
It is a magical sight when we see a large tree such as this one latching on firmly for its life onto a seemingly deserted, hopeless rock. Sometimes these committed survivors can even be seen on rocky islands in the middle of a river where there seems to be no access to nutrients. Moss and lichen have a separate root mechanism that allow for them to latch onto rocks and obtain nutrients directly from the rocks. While trees do not have the same mechanism, small amounts of soil could be sufficient for the plant to germinate. With help of its powerful roots, trees can expand minute cracks into gaping crevices while it seeks for water and nutrients with its root hairs. Many large plants that grow “on rocks” have probably started off as seeds on small patches of soil, but as growth continues they will find its way to the ground, forming a penetrating or wrapping structure around the rock.