By now we are aware that most plants have a dormant period that they go into in order to escape the harsh conditions of the changing of seasons. However, most of us would not think that some plants could stay dormant for up to 20 years; we may even think that that is a joke. However, it is the truth, a study done at the University of Tokyo backing up this information.
More about the study
This study was led by Professor Richard Shefferson and Doctor Eric Menges. These two and their team of researchers found out that out of the plant species that they performed tests on, 114 of them had this particular survival mechanism.
Researchers decided to call the plants’ ability to lay low for a number of seasons without coming up and trying to be dormant in order to avoid harsh conditions that would not allow them to grow their ability to bed hedge. In simpler terms, this means that the plant is able to decide whether it is more worth it to deal with unfavorable conditions for a season rather than wait longer and reap the benefits for their growth later on.
Yes, this does seem a bit a bit weird since the plants would not be able to evolve in any way, either reproduce or have flowers or fulfill their basic function of photosynthesis. However, as unlikely as it may sound this is the truth. Different plant species have managed to combat the lack of nutrients that they would get from not being able to photosynthesize by creating various mechanisms through which they can absorb the nutrients that they need from fungal associates that they can find in the soil.
The fact that this type of behavior has been recorded to have happened multiple times in the past shows that process proved to be highly beneficial for them.