Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Why do some plants have the ability to stand frost, while others can't? Does it have to do with the size of the water vacuoles in the plant cells?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

All cells are susceptible to cold, but freezing is particularly difficult. If the water in the cells freeze, it would usually burst the cells (water expands when it turns to ice) and tearing the cell membrane (totally killing it).

Some plants and animals have adapted to colder temperatures by putting antifreeze proteins in their cells. A lot like adding antifreeze to the radiator of a car, this lowers the freezing temperature of the water in the cell.

So the answer is that some plants have adapted to colder climates with the help of additional genes. There are other things that have to change too - the chemical reactions in the cell will go haywire when temperature changes too, so lots of genes must make adjustment for a fully cold adapted plant.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.