While it may first appear that the Arctic supports very little vegetation and could be considered a polar desert, there’s actually plant life consistently present throughout the Arctic. Crustaceous lichens grow on exposed rock surfaces, and algae grows on permanent ice formations. Larger plants can grow in rock crevices and even grow in patches of grass in plots of soil.
Whatever the Arctic vegetation, they must content with a severe environment consisting of constant daylight in summer, low temperatures, occasionally mobile soil, frozen ground, and harsh winds and snowfall. As such, many of the surviving species grow in compact sizes and groups, cushioned against the climate. They also have a short growing season and rapid life cycle, with spring shoots often showing when frosts still occur and snow remains on the ground and the flowering and seed stages following in short succession.