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Antarctica

Plants

Plant species are more numerous than first impressions of Antarctica would lead one to believe, but they are far smaller and less conspicuous than plants in other latitudes. Antarctica is home to some 350 species of lichen, 100 species of moss and hundreds of species of algae – including 20 species of snow algae. Some remarkable lichens and algae can even live inside rocks, inhabiting the spaces between individual grains of the rock. There are no trees or shrubs in Antarctica and just two species of indigenous vascular plants: Antarctic hairgrass (Deschampsia antarctica) and Antarctic pearlwort (Colobanthus quitensis). The peri-Antarctic islands, of course, have much more diverse flora, with South Georgia alone boasting at least 50 species of vascular plants.