On today's guided hike up to Yoho Lake, we talked about the ability of subalpine fir to germinate in the snow, and to grow a taproot – up to 3 cm long – right after germinating. This long taproot allows it to get a foothold in the mineral soil that's under all the leaf litter, and makes the fir superb at regenerating in shady, mossy subalpine forests.
|subalpine fir with taproot|
Then, to complete the story, a few minutes later we stopped for good views, and around our feet were baby fir trees, maybe a month old, sprouting their first needles. My photo is a bit blurry, but you can see the first two needles, ready to start photosynthesizing.
|baby subalpine fir, with its first needles|